CHICAGO (CBS) — What’s in a name? Facebook is hoping for a fresh start after announcing its parent company has changed its name to “Meta.” But a new moniker doesn’t fix old problems that have plagued the social media platform for years – and those problems are still claiming victims. Among those problems are scam artists, who impersonate people to con money out of those people’s family and friends.
Such is the case for Vera Waters, a Chicago resident who is warning others after her experience. “I’m pissed, because my identity was stolen,” she told WBBM-TV.READ MORE: North Miami Beach PD Needs Help Locating 15-Year-old Jeimy Henrriquez
It takes courage to admit when you’ve made a mistake. But any embarrassment Waters has about what happened to her is outweighed by her desire to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
It started when a cousin messaged her on Facebook in July about a government grant. “She was telling me that she got the grant, and you don’t have to pay it back,” Waters said, “and she was like, ‘Do you want me to give you the scoop on it?’ I was like, ‘Well, yeah, sure – go for it.’”
The promise was for thousands of dollars, with pictures of checks and transfers serving as “proof” it was legit.
Waters wanted it to pay off her debt, so she sent her personal information. She also made a video, as directed, in which she stood in front of a mirror while holding up her driver’s license and said: “I thank the government for approving me of this grant. It’s real money, and you don’t have to pay it back, and everyone can apply. Thank you.”READ MORE: Former US Rep. Carrie Meek Passes Away At 95
“They just really try to make you just really believe that, and you do!” Waters said.
Shortly afterward, she realized her mistake. It was scammers messaging her, pretending to be her cousin. Soon after that, she said she was locked out of her Facebook page. Then, the hackers took the video and turned it around to try to scam Waters’ friends. “A lot of my friends started inboxing me, you know, telling me the person came to them and was trying to get them,” Waters said.
She and her friends went to Facebook’s Help Center, to report Waters’ page and get it removed. But in an email, the social media giant said her profile “doesn’t go against Community Standards.”
“You would think that Facebook would see all of this stuff and stop it, you know what I’m saying,” Waters said. “But no.”
It has been almost four months since reporting the scam, and Waters is fearful that the video she made could still be hurting others.“I don’t want the next person’s identity to be stolen, you know, to be a victim of identity theft,” she said.MORE NEWS: Officer Injured, Suspect Dead Following Coral Gables Police-Involved Shooting
WBBM-TV reached out to Facebook to find out why her page hadn’t been shut down. A spokeswoman did respond, asking for more specific information about Waters’ account, and promised that their teams will look into it.