Dubliners urged to be ‘vigilant’ over new Facebook cloning scam

0 cllr maurice dockrell.jpg
0 cllr maurice dockrell.jpg

A Dublin councillor is urging people to be careful as a new sophisticated social media scam is doing the rounds.

The latest sneaky con clones Facebook users’ accounts and targets people on their friends list.

Taking to social media, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Cllr Maurice Dockrell tweeted: “Just to warn people that there is a current spate of fraudsters cloning Facebook accounts of your friends telling you that you have money coming to you.

“Don’t accept friend requests from people you already have as friends.”

Cllr Maurice Dockrell told Dublin Live that he received a bogus Facebook friend request from someone who was already a friend.

He said: “An attempt was made today on my own Facebook when a friend asked to befriend me on Facebook, I wasn’t paying too much attention and I knew the person reasonably well, so I clicked on it.

“Then I got a message saying that I was going to get $50,000 from a publishing firm.

“I knew it was a scam then so I didn’t click the link. I blocked it and reported it and a few other people have had this scam be sent to them as well.”

Cllr Dockrell said that he decided to post a warning on Twitter to alert other people to the scam going around.

He said: “I’d be particularly worried for elderly people because they are a very trusting generation. There are a lot of scams going around, door to door scams are back and telephone scams as well.

“It’s shocking that there is a lack of safeguarding online, I think further legislation is needed but that would be tricky with the social media companies.”

Cllr Dockrell added: “I would ask everybody to be vigilant and if you have elderly parents to talk to them about this, because it’s easy for hackers to get into your phone and computers.”

It comes after An Garda Síochána has noted an increase in fraudulent ‘smishing’ texts being received by members of the public in recent weeks.

A garda spokesman said: “There has been a 61% increase in smishing/vishing offences in the first 10 days of 2022, in comparison with the same period in 2021.

GNECB (Garda National Economic Crime Bureau) have issued the following advice:

• Be wary of such texts (even if the message thread includes previous genuine texts from your bank)

NEVER EVER click on links – by doing so you are accessing cloned websites

• NEVER EVER give away personal data like PINs, one time codes or passwords

• If you have been a victim of this fraud, it is vital you change your password and PIN code immediately

• If you have been a victim of this fraud, report the matter to your bank asking them to recall any transactions which may have taken place, and report the matter to An Garda Síochána

Dublin Live has contacted Facebook for comment.

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