Local man falls victim to Facebook scam

LITTLETON, Colo. - The FOX31 Problem Solvers want to warn you about a Facebook scam that is circulating our area. One man just fell for it and is now out $2,000 dollars.

The victim thought he was messaging back and forth with his aunt, but it turns out it was really a criminal after his money. “It was my aunt’s exact profile picture,” Don Giusti said.

Don Giusti received a Facebook message from his aunt, or so he thought. The message told him about a Federal grant that wasn’t advertised publicly. If he clicked on the link he could make some fast cash and a woman named Cynthia Evans would be in touch.

“She said here’s what you can do. If you send a thousand dollars we’ll send you 40 thousand,” Giusti said. Not suspecting anything, Giusti went along with it and wired Evans a money order.

“The next day, she said 'Oh, I have some terrible news. Our truck was in an accident',” Giusti said. Evans asked Giusti to send more money.

“I got on Google to see if there was an accident with a FedEx truck and there was, so I thought okay,” Giusti said.

After sending three separate Western Union money orders, totaling nearly $2,000 dollars, and receiving no money or response back, Giusti confronted his aunt.

“She said what are you talking about Don? Who is Cynthia Evans?”

At that point Giusti realized he just got caught up in a scam, something a local cyber security expert says is all too familiar.

“Most people make the information on their Facebook page public so anyone, including someone who is not a friend of theirs can take the content, copy it and paste it to anything they want,” Mitch Tanenbaum, partner with Cybercecurity said.

The Problem Solvers messaged the scammer from Don’s account. They replied at first, but when we told them the jig was up we didn’t get a response back.
“He has the evidence and money order he sent you. The police will be investigating this.”

While Giusti said he likely won’t get his money back, he hopes others will be more cautious on the Internet.

“I had to take out a loan to pay my utilities and my mortgage all because of this,” Giusti said.

Tanenbaum said to be suspicious if someone asks you to send a money order as most reputable businesses will let you pay by credit card, that way it can be disputed if it’s fraudulent. He also said to be cautious about clicking on any links.

“Somewhere between 70 to 80 percent of home computers have some form Malware on them. That’s what the hackers are trying to do, so if they get you to click on the link, even if they don’t get you to buy something or send them money, they now may have control of your computer. If your anti-virus software doesn’t catch that, and many times it won’t, they now have control of your computer probably until you buy a new computer,” Tanenbaum said.