By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Scammers are using Facebook to put a new twist on the old Nigerian 419 scam. The 419 scams are usually easy to spot because they involve email requests for money. But, the attacks on Facebook are much craftier because they hijack the identity of real people. It happened to a Tulsa woman, who shared her story exclusively with The News On 6.
Brittany Gray is a school teacher and has had a Facebook account for years with more than 500 friends on her page. Recently, she couldn't figure out why those friends were calling to check on her.
"All of them are asking if I was okay, from people I hadn't heard from in a long time and my sisters were texting me, the one in Australia, to ask if I was okay, when I'd seen them just the night before," said Brittany Gray.
She quickly learned someone had hijacked her Facebook account and changed her status to in trouble. When people messaged to ask what kind of trouble, the person pretending to Brittany gave them quite a story.
"There was a whole story concocted about how I was in London and got robbed in the park and just wanted to get on my flight, but the consulate needed money to re-issue my passport and all sorts of things," said Brittany Gray.
A scammer had even changed her email address so the real Brittany couldn't log on.
Even though she is careful with the information on her page, by not including where she works or lives, the scammer used information from her pictures to make the story sound plausible and it worked.
One of Gray's friends sent $600.
"He contacted Western Union and asked if he sent it, how would he be sure it gets to her? They said she has to have a government issued ID and be in London, where they money was going and a couple of hours later, someone picked it up," said Brittany Gray.
Gray's friends posted messages on the page saying it wasn't really her, but the hacker deleted them and anyone who questioned the story, was removed from the friends' list.
Gray had Facebook cancel her account and has just recently started a new one, this time with only 11 friends.