Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Scammed (Almost)

I've been sick the last few days and the kids have been up way too early (6 am, ugh) so I haven't really felt like blogging. But then I had a little adventure this morning - so much excitement in like 30 mins!

The kids were on their playmat and I decided to login to Facebook. My friend Natalie said hello and then said that she was in London at a resort and had her wallet stolen. First I (wrote) asked if she was okay and if she had her passport - yes. Then I asked if she needed help calling credit card companies - also a yes. But then she said she needed money wired. I said yes and where could I wire it and when the answer was "online Western Union" I realized that it was odd that Natalie was at a resort and why couldn't she just get money from her bank? They would wire it. She travels a lot internationally for work but never calls them resorts. I called her work number and her VM message didn't say she was out of the office. So I asked Natalie to tell me something only I would know and she said FOH - which stands for Friends of Helen. Meanwhile two other friends were "chatting" with me about how they had been contacted by Natalie for money. I was even more suspicious so I asked Natalie what the name of her dog was growing up. "Natalie" immediately went offline. Anyway, here is an article on the scam. I tried to find someone live to talk to on Facebook but couldn't so I reported it via a form they have. After all this work to convince Natalie to join Facebook and this happens!

Husband was in the shower when this all went down and he was glad my instincts were to probe deeper. I'm a lawyer - it's all about the facts! I also know that if I said to Husband - Natalie needs me to wire $700 (the amount they asked for) he'd also be suspicious.

This reminds me a little of the first time I fell for the "I just need some money to get a bus" scam in D.C. People were always asking for money in D.C. It is very hard to deal with person-to-person. It is one thing to give over a couple of dollars and another to wire $700!

10 comments:

Stacey said...

It's interesting that the hackers picked Natalie. She does travel a lot internationally and they must have figured that out from her status updates or photos. Keep in mind that most people still call for money requests so I would have been suspicious with an IM conversation. Good for you in trying to contact Facebook and annoying that there is no way to report it. Perhaps try abuse@facebook.com? That's the common email address to report phishing at most companies.

Mommy, Esq. said...

I did ask her to call me so I could confirm it was her. Then I asked the dog question.

Helen said...

The FOH thing kind of freaks me out. Where did they see that?

This happened to my friend Ann this summer, via her e-mail address being hacked, and I was fielding calls from all sorts of friends from school (including older ones) and I had to convince them Ann was not in London, and that she was okay.

Has anyone spoken with Natalie?

Theresa said...

I think they saw it in your 25 Things - Natalie was tagged on that, I think. This is all very freaky.

It looks like Natalie changed her email address on Facebook - can we confirm that she was the one that changed it? It's now a Verizon.net address.

Mommy, Esq. said...

Just talked to Nat - not her email address. Poor girl also had her car spin out this AM.

Jordan said...

That's totally freaky. I'd expect those kind of shenanigans from MySpace but not Facebook.

I'd never pay anyone online unless I talked to them first. I've actually never wired money before (except for PayPal).

Nancy said...

Geeeez! That's totally freaky. Makes me want to rethink that 25 things... ;)

Good for you for not being fooled. They must fool a lot of people for them to keep doing it though.

Natalie said...

you were a master sleuth on this case Kristin, don't count out criminal law!!!!!! Thanks for looking out for me and thanks for being my phone buddy during my little car incident. I'm okay now, my back and neck hurt a little bit but that's because i tensed up so much I think. car is running fine. actually, on way into work, passed the same cop who came to help me helping another spin out only a few hundred feet further down.

Krissy said...

Must be fraud week..."American Express" has called me three times trying to get my account info...so annoying, but glad I can recognize false calls.

Sounds like you handled things quite well.

Anonymous said...

I noticed a few weeks ago, you mentioned posting some news about the law firm you work at - did I miss that post? I'd be curious to read your thoughts on what's going on in BigLaw.

I'm guessing you read Above The Law and probably keep in touch with friends from work, so you know things aren't good in the legal industry right now. I am guessing it's a really good time to be on maternity leave...