Police forces across Yorkshire have seen an increase in reports of social media accounts being hacked, with friends of victims being tricked into sending money to fraudsters.
In the scam, fraudsters gain access to the victim’s social media account and then send messages to their contacts asking for financial help, pretending to be the victim. The message can include that household bills need to be urgently paid and that the victim will pay the money back shortly, sometimes even stating they will pay it all back with interest. There have been some instances where the friend has sent money due to believing they were helping the victim.
The scammers will provide bank account details for a ‘mule’ account and in some cases they will ask for more money once payment has been received. We have seen that Facebook is being mainly used in the scam, but it can be carried out on other social media platforms too.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe:
Use a strong password – we would recommend using three random words and use a different password for every account you have
If you believe your social media account has been hacked, or you are the victim of any other type of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud by either visiting their website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or by ringing them on 0300 123 2040.
Share this information with family and friends – protect yourself and others.
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Dannielle Lee (Police, Cyber Protect Officer, South Yorkshire)
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