COLUMBIA, Mo - An identity thief has targeted a Facebook user in Columbia. Columbia police said the unknown person made a duplicate account with the victims information. Authorities investigated the incident last Friday.
"Facebook actually makes it pretty easy to create a fake profile for somebody. I could take your picture off of Facebook and create a profile for you in a bout a minute," said Sean Spence," Better Business Bureau regional director.
The victim told police that someone used her photo and profile information to contact people on her "friends" list to solicit money from them.
"Guard your personal and financial information as closely as you would your valuables because you Social Security number, your date of birth, your bank account numbers -- those are hot commodities for criminals," said Det. Tom O'Sullivan with Boone County Sheriff's Department.
Experts warn if a friend ever sends a Facebook message, a text or an email asking for personal information or money to not respond and follow it up with a phone call.
"Most of the time, when these kinds of scams happen, it's going to seem a little bit weird. This is most likely going to be a friend who never asks you for money before. It's going to be somebody that you're surprised is asking you for money," said Spence.
Experts said the most important precaution for Facebook users is to filter who can access their pages. Facebook has several privacy and security settings that can limit who can access a user's page.