DEAR HARRIETTE: The creepiest thing just happened to me. I received a friend request on Facebook, and I accepted because the person is friends with someone I know and respect. Almost immediately, the person direct messaged me with light chitchat. Quickly it turned into this man saying that he had won a big prize that Mark Zuckerberg had created to give back to the community, and I was on the list to get the prize, too. Yeah, right! I challenged him on this, and he was very convincing that this was like a lottery of sorts and randomly someone would win. I then looked to see who else is friends with this person. Turns out, my friend is the only other person I know who is his friend. I pushed back and eventually unfriended and blocked him.
The next day, I went to show someone this guy's page, and a real Facebook page came up. I realize that at least for a period of time, somebody stole this guy's identity. How weird is that? I reported it to Facebook, but I wonder if I should tell this guy, too. -- Identity Theft, Brooklyn, New York
DEAR IDENTITY THEFT: It can be totally unnerving when someone tries to scam you for starters and does so by stealing someone else's identity. We must all be vigilant about protecting ourselves. This includes making smart choices about whom we engage with person and virtually.
I recommend that you direct message the person in question to tell him what happened to you. He may have no idea that his identity was compromised. You should also ask Facebook to tell you if there is a way to prevent such a thing from happening in the future. The company definitely has a fraud division. Now is the time to make it clear that there continue to be unsavory characters out there who must be stopped.