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back to article Faux Facebook 'friend' takes US woman for $4,000

A US woman has been stung for $4,000 via a fraudulent Facebook "friend in peril" scam. Jayne Scherrman, a paediatric dentist from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, wired the money via Western Union to her friend Grace Parry in response to requests for help via Facebook. The messages claimed that Grace and her husband had lost everything …

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Stop

In the future...

you are anyone you wish to be.

If someone is in trouble and has a computer, then they have access to a telephone.

If they have a telephone, they can call you.

If they can call you, then not only will you know what the @#$%^&* is REALLY happening, but you’ll be able to identify them.

So many people are caught up in the technology; they forget that there is a real world out there. In the real world, we communicate directly to people. Lacking that verification of identity, every other form of communication must be viewed with a varying level of uncertainty and skepticism, depending on the communications mode.

It’s the future, man. It’s here and it's ready to take your identity, your money, or anything else you’re willing to give it.

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Friends what friends

Just goes to show that collecting friends in Facebook is not good for those collected. Only connect to those friends you can actually contact outside of the site is my advice

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Facebook users deserve what they get

Seriously, why do people use that disgusting cesspool of a web site? Wasn't high school awful enough the first time? Anyone stupid enough to use Facebook deserves to have their identity stolen and their life savings wiped out. Hopefully the same will happen to Facebook itself once the fad finally starts to die off.

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Coat

Easy solution

When you get an email from your Facebook friend, asking you to bail them out; ask them this simple question: "When and where did we last see each other?"

No answer = no cash.

Mine's the one with the Western Union receipt in the pocket

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Big Brother

In this day in age...

Seriously, in this day and age of technology and Big Brother mentality, how it still possible for Joe Schmoe to send a "virtually untraceable wire transfer". Is there REALLY no sort of electronic paper trail for that?

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FAIL

How can...

...people be so stupid?

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Happens closer to home too...

I got sent on a rescue mission after a friend of a friend got mugged. Was most of the way across London when my mate, chatting from Thailand to the victim on Facebook IM, started to think alarm bells.

Sure enough when we arrived at the target (Kentish Town Library) it was closed and the muggee decided they were now in Tunbridge Wells. Every one of her friends had been contacted, so god knows how many sent money or, indeed, had to apologise profusely to their friends and buy them a lot of beer for wasting their time...

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Thumb Up

Wow, seemed like that worked a treat!

Thanks for the idea!

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FAIL

@John

"Grace was locked out of her account and unable to warn here online contacts."

"Grace was locked out of her account and unable to warn her online contacts."

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong :)

On the article though I find it hard to believe that she (the lady who was scammed) didn't question the fact that she wasn't called about this by said friend, instead of being contacted through Fakebook. Seriously I would rather that a friend CALLED ME instead of sitting there sending me a message through something like that. I wouldn't reply otherwise for one, secondly I don't bother with Fakebook ever, have an account that I only made to see if someone was wrong on their end(Fakebook) for a family member.

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Coat

I want this person as a friend....

She's clearly got a very loose relationship with money...

Come to think of it... no, that would be wrong...

(untraceable wire transfer hey!!!!)

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Stop

How is this still possible?

Is it me or is Western Union simply a front for all things illegal? Why doesn't it fall under the FSA's remit, and therefore fall foul of money laundering legislation at the vest least? (Yes I know this story is about an American...)

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J 3
Paris Hilton

Why?

Why is it possible (and legal) to transfer money like that, untraceably? I'm trying to imagine any legitimate reason for that capability existing. I can readily see a number of illicit reasons why some people would want an untraceable way to transfer money, but legal ones... anyone?

I mean, could I wire money to Paris and never hear from it again?

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Silver badge

Stranded in London...

Yes, it's the middle of nowhere, there's no US embassy you can go to for assistance, all you can do is use facebook (via some medium unknown) to beg for help.

As the saying goes, "A fool and his money are easily parted"

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Silver badge

If only this was news...

Sadly it happens a lot - if you visit the excellent www.scamwarners.com you will find heaps of other cases and some great advice too. It is a victim-friendly site, so you can give the link to relatives and friends who are more vulnerable/less tech-savvy to keep them informed. It is a sister site of the more vigilante 419Eater.com, which may entertain Reg readers more, and is certainly worth a visit

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Call Me.

Colour me your colour, baby

Colour me your car

Colour me your colour, darling

I don't know who you are

Came up off my Facebook chart

I don't know where you're comin' from

Call me (call me) on the line

Call me, call me any, anytime

Call me (call me) my love

You can call me any day or night

Call me

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Anonymous Coward

Untraceable transfers

Yes, for those of you who have obviously never heard of Western Union transfers.

The amount sent is paid in cash. The recipient is paid in cash.

He only needs to provide a proof of identity. In Paris, that would probably be a national ID card (not mandatory, but actually difficult to live with).

In countries who don't have them, the recipient only needs the correct answer to a question given by the sender to the Western Union agent.

This is especially useful to send money *everywhere* in the world, even to those unable to have a proper ID, a bank account, or the ability to read.

And as it happens, you don't necessarily want the local government agents to know you got money.

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FAIL

Help!

I'm a prisoner in an electron factory! Send money!

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Flame

@ J 3

MP's expenses perhaps

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Re: How is this still possible?

"Is it me or is Western Union simply a front for all things illegal?"

When us mere mortals have to jump through hoops to satisfy money-laundering regulations in order to open *another* bank account, why have our terror-toting overlords not applied oversight to Western Union and similar services? One has to wonder...

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Western Union = American

Western Union is a popular way of moving money around for people without bank accounts. In theory, the recipient of cash from a Western Union transfer needs to show ID (passport, national identity card). The reality in many countries is that no ID is really necessary if you know the transaction number. Of course, if there was no ID or the ID was fake, then the money transferred is no longer traceable.

I suppose Hawala is money laundering because it is a traditional form of money transfer between people in Islamic countries whereas Western Union is American and therefore, must be kosher :-)

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Bronze badge

well silver lining and all

at least she know how much she is worth to her freinds !!!

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FAIL

they look the other way

ahh western union. their terms desolve all responsibility for any transactions. i have a case where someone is selling domestic airline tickets. they collect the money through western union (since it is directed at tourists), .....then no ticket is issued and no further contact from said scammer. western union say its not their problem.

even contacted yahoo web hosting since the scammer advertises his services that way... they also declined to take any action.

im not a lawyer so i don't know the legal side to western union... common sense says they should be hauled in front of a court, but almost never does common sense tie in with the law.

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Verification?

Don't these eejits ever consider some sort of verification?

They dserve all they get, or rather deserve to give all they do.

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western union

Western Union do this well: send money.

Folk who get ripped of by not getting what they sent the money for need to realise that it is REALLY not Western Unions problem. They sent the money like you asked, like you paid them. Thats all you paid them for, and they did it.

Sam

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re sam liddicott

interesting what you say there. im not sure i agree. for example you pay by credit card for an item online. you don't receive any item. you can claim your money back from your credit card supplier can you not?

im not suggesting that western union should do the same thing but if they do receive numerous complaints about the same person time and again ripping people off, surely they should take some kind of action. for one thing it is giving western union a bad name even, as you rightly point out, that they have not done anything wrong themselves.

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Heart

This is probably why,,,

... people arrested by the police are still offered a phone call* to let someone know, rather than half an hour on facebook.

* I don't know if this happens - but I've seen it on TV so it must be true.

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Coat

So

She's locked out of Facebook, but her husband isn't, couldn't he somehow warn Facebook to temporarily freeze her account and look into it. And how did an international criminal gang get her details whilst she was on holiday? (and by international criminal gang I mean bunch of kids watching her type her details in over her shoulder - going into her account and changing the password).

Maybe Facebook should have a big red button on their sign-in page, saying, 'help, cannot sign in, something is wrong with my account' which could alert them to any shady goings on.

And I'm pretty sure any legal entity in the UK, be it police or customs, wouldn't ask for money to be wired via Western Union, maybe if she was in Botswana or Australia or somewhere. /jk

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Stop

Re; Jan Hargreaves

There is a big difference between the services of a credit card and a money transfer company - e.g. the reliance on bank accounts and the thereof gained verifiability of credit status and security of payment. Without these measures, the way to ensure a similar security would be by escrow, but for some reason these cheapskates prefer the cheaper and less secure option - because they naturally trust their friend.

Why anyone would trust an online merchant is however beyond me...

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