Facebook warns users about London scam

Maria Snyder keeps up with family and friends on Facebook and recently she got a surprise message that one of her friends was in trouble.

"On a Saturday morning, I got an e-mail from him saying, 'Help, I'm in jail and need money. Don't tell anyone about this - here are the instructions'," said Snyder

She was concerned but decided that before she did anything she would call him. That turned out to be a good decision. He was fine at home and didn't know anything about the message. Snyder told him to change his password immediately.

"He went and changed them all - and the big kicker that got him was his password was 1,2,3,4,5," said Snyder.

Facebook calls it "the London scam" since many of the messages claim to be from London. The New York Attorney General is now alerting users to use extra caution on the site especially when a message or link wants money or your personal information.

The computer repair experts at Rescuecom say that having your Facebook account hijacked may be just the tip of the iceberg. CEO David Milman says users need to guard their account closely.

"There are sites that have to do with personal information, dating sites and all of that is now connecting to your Facebook site. so if someone has access to your Facebook site you are at a big risk," said Milman.

Snyder says she's glad she took a minute before she responded to what sounded like a Facebook friend in trouble.

"When you get that gut feeling - pay attention to that. that can be your first indicator, maybe I should be a little careful," said Snyder.

Experts say one of the best steps you can take to protect your Facebook account and yourself is to go to account settings and use the account notification option. It lets you know if someone logs onto your Facebook account from an unknown computer.

Facebook and the New York State Attorney General are warning people to be cautious of several scams that are circulating on Facebook. Some scams have been able to hijack personal accounts and then send messages to friends and relatives asking for them to send money " often to a foreign country.

Scammers can also hijack accounts and put phishing applications on Facebook that collect personal or financial information.

The London Scam where someone claims to have been robbed or hospitalized in London with no way to get home has become common. The message usually says the money is needed immediately. CNY Central has learned this scam has even affected people in Central New York. Facebook and authorities say you should verify information with friends and family before sending any money through a wire service.

Facebook says that if you believe your account has been hacked or temporarily hijacked, you should immediately change your password and contact Facebook for assistance.

This is our "Facebook Story of the Day" as voted on by our CNY Central Facebook fans. Visit our Facebook page by clicking here to become a fan and join the conversation!

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