Interpol Chief’s ID Stolen via Facebook

Posted September 20, 2010 in Frauds & Scams by Arthur Buono

If you needed any more proof that identity theft can happen to anyone, look no further. Offered as Exhibit A: The Interpol chief’s identity was stolen via Facebook. The theft may have let criminals get information on a recent Interpol police operation.

  • Criminals impersonated Interpol’s top cop on Facebook
  • Gained information on fugitives targeted by Interpol dragnet
  • Hackers access email accounts, target contacts with elaborate scams


Hackers Use Social Media to Steal Identities

Criminals set up two Facebook accounts impersonating Interpol’s top cop. Facebook itself was not compromised. Concerns over Facebook’s security policies were not to blame. It does point to how gullible people are in dealing with social media. No one challenged the authenticity of the bogus accounts, which were unmasked by Interpol.

Hackers are able to make hay because we tend to treat our Internet interactions as routine and authentic. Social media increasingly is the facilitator of scams and frauds. A Georgia man had a near miss recently when thieves broke into his Yahoo mail account. His friends were not duped when impersonators sent out emails urgently asking them for help because the man had been robbed in England. The scammers went so far as to have someone answer phone calls to a number supposed to have been at a London hotel.

The Interpol head calls cyber crime one of the most dangerous criminal threats we may ever face. Social media is here to stay, and so is transacting business via the Internet. You can’t eliminate the risk of identity theft entirely but you can limit it. Use unique, strong passwords for your different accounts. Learn and use privacy controls. Be stingy with personal details that can be pieced together to give away your identity.

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