MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A new Facebook scam that seems to be originating from Maryville is taking over some user’s accounts.
It starts with a Facebook Messenger message that says other users believe your account to be fake, threatening to remove the message receiver’s account from the site.
“WARNING SYSTEM !!! Our security team has found violations in your account, we have received reports from other users that you are a fake account and your account will be closed for security reasons.
Abuse reports that were received:
- Pretending to be someone else
- Using a false identity
- It dos not represent a real person
If you are the original owner of this account please confirm your account here: [Link redacted]
Note: If you do not immediately confirm after you receive this message, your account will be closed permanently and we are not responsible if your account is automatically closed.”
Following the link included in the message takes users to another site, not connected to Facebook that prompts visitors to prove their identity by entering their username and password. Once the user’s information has been entered to the site the hacker is able to take over the Facebook account. The account name is then changed to “Notification Blocking.”
If you receive such a message do not click on any links.
Cyber security analyst Joe Gray shared information about how you can tell this message is part of a phishing scam and what could happen if you become a victim.
“This does not seem to be a nation state attack, the perpetrator is likely in the Knoxville or Maryville area and is spreading the scam through their friends list. The motive seems to be more prank oriented, although it could take a turn for more nefarious outcomes,” said Gray. “You can easily tell this is a phishing scam because they are not very experienced at cyber security and have made several telling mistakes.”
You should never enter your user name or password for any account on a site that is not verified.
If you fall this victim to this particular scam, Gray says there are steps you can take to fix it:
- Change all of your passwords IMMEDIATELY.
- Check all applications you have authorized on Facebook and make sure they are all legitimate.
- Use social media to warn others about the attack.
- Run anti-virus software on your computer to make sure it is safe.
- Report the phishing site to Google.
Gray says he believes around 30 accounts have been infected with the hack so far and expects it to spread quickly.
“Be very cautious about what you’re clicking and think about your actions and how it can actually affect everything around you,” said Gray.
Maryville resident Rhonda Long came across the link on Facebook but luckily she says she knew better.
“I never click on those things that look suspicious,” she said.