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Working with companies of all sizes to make the most of the internet.

On Saturday morning I received a twitter notification saying I had a new follower. It was someone I had met at a few events but not someone I knew particularly well. A few minutes later I got a message…. Nothing suspicious so far.

So I replied… as you do.

At this point it seemed a bit odd, out of character maybe but nothing alarming.

Back when I met this person I was doing the Hack Oldham stuff, and he was involved in the Cooperative Party, so a conversation about funding was not beyond the realms of possibility. However I don’t wear that hat anymore so I replied

At this point it got a little weird.

You may have picked up that the language is full of Americanisms, and the gentleman who the message is supposed to be coming from is far from American. So I pinged him a message via Facebook and confirmed the messages were not coming from him.

So then I replied…

There was a pause…

Note we’re talking about Social Security and congress which are American but now talking in Pounds Sterling.

Another pause…

They are still going at it, so I thought I’d try a different tack, Lets ask a question that the real person would answer in a predictable fashion.

Amazingly they kept going…

And going…

I decided to try something else…

At this point I got a reaction….

I was blocked…. Yes that’s right the scammer blocked me…

 

So what was actually going on here? Well I would guess that the scam is to get me (the mark) interested in some kind of scheme, probably would have had to provide personal details or even pay to get involved. They cloned an individuals profile and then followed people that the genuine person followed. The idea being that the mark would trust the information coming from someone that they knew.

What seems to have gone wrong here is although this seemed to be some kind of social security scam (American) they cloned the account of a British person, and then targeted British people (I know I wasn’t the only person to receive these messages).

How can you protect yourself from scams like this?  Well probably the biggest part is follow your gut, if something seems odd then go with your suspicions and check them out. Be aware than scams like this exist, and its possible that someone on the internet might not be who they say they are…

In the words of Fox Mulder….