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Some Facebook "friends" may be financial scammers

September 7, 2011 |  2:52 pm

SocialNetwork-SonyPictures

Don't entrust your investments to that "friend" you met on Facebook.

A group of state securities regulators issued a warning Wednesday to be wary of people on social networks who pass themselves off as financial experts. In reality, they may be con artists trying to lull the unsuspecting into trusting them.

“Just because someone has ‘friended’ you online does not mean that person is your friend when it comes to investing,” said David Massey, the deputy securities administrator in North Carolina. “The person behind the profile may be deliberately mimicking your likes and interests to lure you into a scam.”

Ingratiating oneself through a social network is the latest high-tech twist on age-old "affinity fraud," in which someone in a certain organization -- be it a golfing group or a religious organization -- entices other members to hand over their money for a purported investment. 

Scammers can use social networks to glean a trove of information about their targets, such as addresses, employment histories or general financial information, according to the warning from the North American Securities Administrators Assn.

As with old-fashioned scams, be skeptical about promised investment returns that seem too good to be true. And keep sensitive financial data out of personal profiles on social-networking sites.

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Photo: Justin Timberlake, left, and Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network." Credit: Sony Pictures

 

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