Community News

Monday, December 13, 2010

Heading out of town? Be careful what you say online

If you're leaving on a trip, police suggest being cautious about what you say online, especially in Facebook status updates and other social media.

The latest trend in online fraud involves fraudsters posing as lawyers and going after seniors, typically when that senior has a younger relative who has made their Facebook status “holidaying in Mexico” or something similar.In the scam, the fraud artist contacts the senior and poses as a lawyer, saying the younger relative is in legal trouble and needs money — usually about $4,000, police say — to make bail.
The fraudster will claim that they are contacting the senior because the young person in trouble used their one phone call to contact the lawyer.

Police say the criminals troll social networking sites looking for indications people are out of the country. Once they know they are, they can be confident the senior they contact will have difficulty actually reaching the younger relative, therefore lending credibility to the fraud call.

Police suggest anyone contacted by someone claiming to be calling on behalf of a traveling relative should first inquire with other family members about that person’s whereabouts. Police also say you should always be wary of wiring money to anyone you are unsure of.

For those who are traveling, it's best to avoid announcing it via social networking sites, and it's also helpful to leave family members with an itinerary and a full list of contact information.

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