Ongoing problems with scams being run on Facebook -- including one that pretended be to from a state legislator -- has led to an inquiry by Connecticut's attorney general about how the social networking giant is dealing with fraud on its pages.
Just days after Consumer Ally reported that a U.S. National Guard general's identity was used in a and Skype scam, Connecticut State Rep. Kim Rose, (D-Milford), found a phony page that purported to be hers. It had already been operating for what state officials think was "a matter of weeks" -- fraudsters set up a fake Facebook account with her name and picture, and used it to fool supporters into giving them money.According to the attorney general's office, one person contacted by the operators of the fake account had already responded with a $650 donation, thinking it was going to support Rose's political work.
However, Rose said that when she found out about the scam site, Facebook was slow to respond to her multiple requests to have it taken down.
Asked about Rep. Rose's assertions, Facebook did not, in its response, address particulars of her scenario, but a company spokesperson did supply this statement to Consumer Ally: "We take security very seriously and devote significant resources to protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and scams.
"This includes developing complex technical systems to flag and block suspicious behavior," the spokesperson continued, "including the creation of phony accounts, providing easy reporting channels for people to let us know when something is wrong, and educating people on how to protect themselves through our Facebook Security Page and concerted campaigns."
Still, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen wants answers from the company about its fraud-control policies.
Jepsen said that, in light of Rose's experience and other public reports of Facebook security lapses, he wants to know how the company handles reports of fraudulent and hacked accounts.
"My hope is to work cooperatively with Facebook to ensure that its users in Connecticut and elsewhere are provided adequate security and receive quick and effective responses when security breaches occur," Jepsen said.
Jepsen has asked the company to supply information about how many complaints of fraudulent or hacked accounts Facebook has received in the past 18 months; an explanation of its policies and procedures for responding to those complaints; and some accounting of how long it takes the company to address problems like Rose's.
He also wants to know what Facebook does proactively, when it comes to detecting and disabling fake and hacked accounts.
Jepsen wants Facebook to supply the information by Feb. 22. According to his office, on Feb. 18, Facebook officials were "cooperating, and there's no reason to think they won't turn over the information we've asked for."
As for Rose, she said she is pleased that something is being done to address what happened to her online: "I'm hopeful this action will help to protect other consumers from identity theft in the future."
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