Scammers are hitting the Internet, and no one is safe.
A recent MSNBC news article told about a Microsoft employee who had his account hijacked by criminals.
According to the article, criminals hijacked the account of Bryan Rutberg in what is known as a “Nigerian” scam, changing his status to “BRYAN IS IN URGENT NEED OF HELP!!!” They changed his login e-mail address and password to assure that he couldn’t get back in to remedy the situation.
Rutberg’s friend Beny Rubinstein, another Microsoft employee, took the bait, wiring Rutberg $600 on two separate occasions. The situation was remedied the next day after Rutberg franticly attempted to contact Facebook to assure his friends that he was just fine, to stop sending money.
A majority of Facebook’s user base are students, who the service was designed for, but as the site increases in popularity, parents and family members are signing up to “friend” their loved ones. As families move online, Facebook scams could prove more successful than the usual “Nigerian Prince” junk mail. That begs the question: How secure is your Facebook?
Freshman pre-communication major Alex Kanner’s password is not complex, but he’s not worried.
“My account is fairly secure,” Kanner said, although his password contains no uppercase characters, underscores or numbers.
“One or two people know my password,” he said.
Kanner’s account has been hacked by his friends before. Though the changes were minor and humorous in nature, it has been compromised and used by people other than himself.
According to Georgia Pyle, a freshman open-option major, one person knows her password.
“No one has ever hacked into my account other than my roommate who changes my status to funny things,” Pyle said.
Other than that, nothing malicious has occurred on her account, Pyle said.
Pyle’s mom, as a user of Facebook, has seen the status changes and has called to make jokes about it. Other than that, nothing malicious has occurred on her account. Pyle uses a more complex password than Kanner, though, as she uses both uppercase letters and numbers to get on the popular social-networking service.
Facebook offers no means of phone contact for its users. Unlike other sites, Facebook does not have a “Contact Us” on the page for e-mail or phone support.
Facebook could not be reached for comment about account theft or online scams through their service.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Zack Shapiro at Zashapiro@colorado.edu.