Fraud Using Facebook

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Ever found your bank statements on Facebook? How about your health records and business plans? That’s what happened to a friend-of-friend of mine. My friend found her friend’s family pictures, health records, business plans and bank statements on Facebook.

The friend-of-friend engaged me to help her out from this as she had no clue how all these information ended up on a Facebook wall. Apparently the friend-of-friend is a business woman and a millionaire who travels a lot to Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and India.

She recently had to undergo a brain surgery in India for which a lot of information was exchanged to her doctors and friends via Gmail. Information includes her health records and bank statements from Canada. She also used this account to exchange business plans with her partners as well as family pictures with her friends.

What we found was – one of her business partner had a key-logger on a laptop which she used in Singapore to login to Gmail. The key-logger gave up her password to her partner, who used it to access the Gmail account to collect all information that was received and sent through the account. The partner then created a Facebook account in my friend-of-friend’s name and posted all those information on its wall. He started inviting friends using email addresses found in the compromised Gmail account. That’s when my friend found this Facebook account and wondered how could the friend-of-friend create a Facebook when she needs help just to compose an email.

We tried to reach Facebook by phone to hear that they don’t support customers via phone and that we can only submit a request to them via their website. With great difficulty maneuvering through Facebook website, I finally could submit a request to remove this fake account stating it’s an impostor account.

Meanwhile, the incident was reported to Singapore police who tried to trace the partner. However, the partner left for India and was later found by Indian police.

Facebook took almost a month to close this fake account and I can understand that as it’s a web-based company which may need some time to attend all of its more-than-50-million customers’ needs. However, that time cost the reputation of my friend-of-friend business woman. Her partner used this account to defame her as much as he can until the account was closed.

I am sure, similar attacks must be happening through out the world.

Watchdog, a consumer rights television program, was able to open a bank account and receive credit cards with the information available from a friend of their fictitious Facebook user.  Such personal information could also be used for impersonating someone and obtaining a travel visa.

Many a times, security experts have warned us of using malicious Facebook applications that when subscribed to will fetch almost all of your personal information for malicious purpose. Use of such application is as simple as using the “dislike” button on Facebook which is equally malicious. These experts also explain us how to set our Facebook account settings to minimize such sharing of information

An account that is not frequently being used may also be harmful as someone else may start updating status on your account without your knowledge.

To all my friends and friends-of-friends, I suggest practicing high due diligence when you post anything on Facebook or when you subscribe to any of its new application or even updating your Facebook account settings. I suggest the same with using any other social networking website such as Orkut, Twitter, or LinkedIn.