Police are warning of a Facebook scam that took a Waldo County woman for more than $15,000.

Waldo County Sheriff Jeff Trafton said the 75-year-old woman, whom he declined to name, received a Facebook message from a high school friend who now lives in Florida touting an "empowerment program" that would give her large sums of money with no strings attached.

Police believe the friend's Facebook account had been hacked.

The woman was told to text a phone number, Trafton said, adding that communications from that point on were exclusively by text. The person who texted back promised to send her up to $430,000, but said she would need to wire $10,650 for insurance first.

The woman wired the money and was told she had to wire an additional $3,000, which she did. When the scammer asked for a third payment, Trafton said, the woman's bank picked up on the suspicious activity and contacted her, putting her in touch with local law enforcement.

 

"The unfortunate part is we have no way of getting her money back for her," Trafton said, adding that the phishing scam probably originated outside the country.

 

While that particular instance of fraud was headed off before it got any worse, Trafton said, the same type of Facebook scam remains a threat.

 

Not long after investigating this case, Trafton said he got a Facebook message from a friend and former state police dispatcher that began in a similar way.

 

"He made a little small talk and then wanted to tell me about this incredible opportunity I could take advantage of," Trafton said. "Of course, as soon as I came across it, I knew it was a scam and that I wasn't talking to my friend I thought I was talking to."