Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Social Media and Scams

This may not have to do with your portfolio but it does have to do with your wallet. Last month, we got a call from detective with Westchester County police asking to speak with my 15-year old daughter. Why?, we asked.

We are trying to reach XXX (my 18-year old son), he said.

Again, why?

"He was involved with a missing gun and we need to ask him some questions."

But why didn't the detective just ask for my son directly? Clearly, this was a scam and when pressed for details the scammers hung up.

Fact - our daughter spends a lot of time in Westchester with her friends. So how did this scammer know the few facts he did know? We think it was Facebook. After all, my kids are FB friends and the list the same high school. My daughter lists her friends and a good chunk of them are from Westchester.

Getting my point? Your personal info is out there for anyone to piece together. I admit to tracking down some old high school friends using news and clues found on the web although I have never scammed them.

Then just today my mom gets a call. In gravely voice, "hello Grandma, it me, your granddaughter and I got into an accident.


I was with my friend from Florida. (Fact - we lived in Florida a few years ago).

"Who is this? XXX?

Yes, its me XXX. (Mistake - my mom offered up my daughter's real name).

Anyway, since my mom is savvy enough, she realized it was a scam but a friend of hers fell for a similar ruse several weeks earlier. Her son was actually in Europe so it was possible he really did need money wired "right away."

I love Facebook and use LinkedIn often. I am also very wary about posting personal information - including where I might be taking a vacation - and anything that might come back to bite me later - such as photos from that party in college. The Internet is forever.

PS- We called the local police who basically said to be careful. Then we called the Westchester police who at least admitted there was little to do and that it was not the first time they've heard about it.

PPS - Be wary of unknown people trying to "friend" you. We heard of a jilted boyfriend getting into the girl's account and friending everyone to try to squeeze our some information.

No comments: