S o, there was the Putorti family, vacationing off in Jolly Ole’ England, when a band of masked marauders caught them at gunpoint and asked them to turn over all their money and credit cards.
That left Whitehall Mayor Francis “Fra” Putorti and his family in quite a pickle, needing to ask friends and family for money through the e-mail and on the social networking site, Facebook.
Here’s the catch, that same day, Fra Putorti was seen all around Whitehall – and the several days both leading up to and following the e-mails and chats that had been sent by “Fra Putorti” to most of his contacts.
Putorti had been the victim of Internet piracy.
“This past Saturday my Facebook and Hotmail accounts were taken over by someone from Wales,” said Putorti. “They somehow got my passwords and used it to try and get money from anyone on my accounts. Some of my contacts on Facebook were chatting with them.”
The e-mail that was sent to people through his Hotmail account read like this:
“This message may be coming to you as a surprise but I need your help. Few days back my family and I made an unannounced vacation trip to London, U.K. Everything was going fine until last night when we were mugged on our way back to the hotel. They Stole all our cash, credit cards and cellphone but thank God we still have our lives and passport… I’m writing you from a local library cybercafe… Our return flight leaves soon. … I need you to help me out with a loan to settle our bills here so we can get back home. I’ll refund the money as soon as we get back. All I need is $1,850 USD. … I will let you know how to get it to me.”
“They told my friends that I went on a quick vacation to Wales along with my wife and family,” said Putorti. “They want my friends to Western Union them $1,850. Hopefully nobody did.”
Putorti also received a transcript of a chat between the fictitious Fra and Christine Stark, who played along with the fake Fra for 23 minutes on a Facebook chat.
“All you need is my name and my location,” said the imposter while asking for some cash.
“I won’t need any other info? No street address to the place (you’re) picking it up,” replied Stark.
“Yes it will be picked up here in Wales United Kingdom Do you understand,” said the imposter.
“Not really but I will go to (Whitehall Police Chief) Matt Dickinson with this and he can help me out,” said Stark.
Later in the conversation, Stark re-iterated that she was going to involve Dickinson in the matter, asking the imposter if he knew what the word “chief” meant.
“Are you (expletive) me or what, we have limited time here are you leaving for Western Union,” replied the imposter.
“No,” said Stark, who then added. “Do you think you’ve been dealing with an idiot?”
“I want to thank everyone who called or came down to make sure that this was a hoax,” said the real Putorti. “Facebook was good about shutting down my account within two hours, but I am still working on Hotmail in trying to get this account back. It is not easy.”