A POLICE chief is warning internet surfers to be wary of conmen who are hacking into social networking sites and posing as friends to extort cash..
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Green, of Hartlepool Police, is concerned about growing reports of fraudsters using Facebook to trick people out of cash.
Website users have had their accounts hacked by the scamsters who then purport to be ‘friends’ of another user.
Messages are passed from the ‘friend’ giving instructions on how to make money, often in relation to the sale of mobile telephones, but only if banking details are provided by the Facebook user – these details are then used to get fraudulent loans in the user’s name.
It is believed that a number of Facebook users in the town have been lured into providing their bank details, in the promise that they will then have money deposited in their accounts, but in fact they later find out they owe cash to pay off the loans they knew nothing about.
Det Chf Insp Green said: “We have had a number of reports recently that Facebook users in Hartlepool have been lured into providing their bank account details by fraudsters offering get-rich-quick schemes.
“The scam often involves the purchase and sale of mobile phones and sometimes Facebook accounts are seemingly being hacked to create the illusion that the victim is being contacted by a friend on their account.
“The simple message to prevent yourself being a victim is this – never, under any circumstances, provide anyone with your bank account details in this way and report any suspicious activity to the police or your account administrator.
“If an offer seems to good to be true that’s because it is.”
Report any strange website activity to Cleveland Police on the non-emergency 101 number.