July 10, 2009
State and local officials are warning area residents of a new scam tactic aimed at users of social networking Web sites.
According to a release from Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, Internet scam artists may be using popular Web sites like Facebook and MySpace to retrieve personal information and illegally solicit money from site users.
The state office has received at least one report of a scammer who stole someone''s identity before using the information to create a fraudulent profile. The scammer then used the profile to solicit money from others on the site.
"The scammer used Facebook''s instant messenger function to contact his or her selected victim and asked the victim to wire money overseas to help them get home," Hood said of an incident reported to his office.
"We see a new scam every day, but I have to admit this use of Facebook is pretty clever," Hood added. "The best rule of thumb is to never send money or give personal information to anyone who asks you by phone or over the Internet."
Although few cases of the social networking scam tactic have been reported in Mississippi, Hood urged anyone who uses the sites to mark their personal pages "private" with the site''s security options.
Hood also urged site users to not post any personal contact information and to always be skeptical of requests for money on the site.
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