Residents of the Causeway Coast & Glens Borough are being warned about a wave of online scams where fraudsters hack into Facebook accounts in a bid to steal money from family and friends.
The sophisticated scam(s) involves a hacker gaining access to an existing Facebook Messenger account.
Statistics reveal that the majority of 'hacked' accounts are down to the fault of the user clicking on external unverified applications and allowing facebook access or a weak password.
The scam involves a hacker taking over your Facebook account and then messaging your friends as if they are you.
They will ask your friends for a short-term loan for something seemingly innocent but urgent like paying a bill.
The cybercriminals give their own account details so the money is transferred straight to them.
MLA Maurice Bradley said "I would urge people to exercise caution, and if they receive any requests for money from friends or family via social media, always check with the person directly before making the transaction.
"Never respond to any requests to send money or have money transferred through your account by someone you don’t know and trust.
Concluding he said "I would also recommend refreshing the security of your online accounts and passwords regularly. I would also highly recommend installing Two-Factor Authentication"
- Always be wary of unusual messages asking for help with financial transactions even if the message appears to be from someone you know and trust. Be sure to always check that the message was sent from them by calling them or speaking to them in person
- Never respond to any requests to send money or have money transferred through your account by someone you don’t know and trust
- Protect your online accounts from hackers by using a strong separate password and, when you can, turn on two-factor authentication
- If you have made a payment then inform your bank or payment service provider as soon as possible, they will be able to help prevent further losses. Always monitor bank statements regularly for unusual activity.