Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Monday, September 14, 2009

The Daily News content for Monday continued to be missing in action on the web pages of the PG Citizen, leaving us to wait for the two day Internet embargo to end before links can be provided to local items of interest. So a synopsis of the Monday news if you will.

LOCAL GETS A RUDE AWAKENING FROM FACEBOOK ACCOUNT-- A Prince Rupert resident finds that her Facebook account wasn't as secure as she thought as her name and account was hijacked in a bid to defraud her friends and family of money, under the auspices of "helping her" out of troublesome situation while travelling. (Daily News Archive see story here )

The province is no longer in control of BC's salmon farms, as the province accepts a recent court ruling handing over jursidiction of the farms to the federal government (Daily News Archive story here)

Reaction builds over the de-staffing of lighthouses on the west coast,as Nathan Cullen the MP for Skeena Bulkley Valley offers up his thoughts on the recent word out of Transport Canada. (Daily News Archive see story here )

BC is hopefully the promised land for the Green Party as leader Elizabeth May seeks to gain a hold on Parliament through a seat on Vancouver Island, May with an eye on a potential federal election has landed in Saanich Gulf Islands (Daily News Archive story here)

The Sports section features a review of the Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course's weekend tournament as well as a preview of the upcoming Prince Rupert Rampage season.

FRONT PAGE Headline Story

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Prince Rupert Daily News
Monday, September 14, 2009

If someone is appealing to friends for money through Facebook then it's most likely a scam.

That's something Nicole Starr knows first hand.

The Safeway employee had a day off on September 9, but had an early start to the day when a friend called from Nashville, Tennessee at 5:00 a.m. to ask if everything was okay.

"He had been chatting on Facebook with someone that said they were me. That I was stuck in the UK, been held at gunpoint and was demanding money. The chatter said we'd taken an unexpected vacation and were mugged outside our hotel and we needed friends to send us eight hundred or a thousand dollars through Western Union," Starr said Friday.

After the phone call Starr went on Facebook right away and her password didn't work and she didn't see anything posted. The friend from Nashville told her the chat section on Facebook had showed that Starr was on line and had sent them a message.

Immediately Starr's boyfriend, Rocky Paolo, posted a notice on his Facebook telling people not to believe the message from Starr. By then the phone calls were coming in from concerned friends all over and, even though Starr was at home on her day off, people were also coming into Safeway to see if she was okay.

Later Starr learned that the hackers has actually signed in and changed her contact information to a different email address. Hers was Nicole_Starr@hotmail.com and they changed it to Nicole_Starr@37.com.

"I can't believe they were able to do that, hack into my system by changing my password. I learned later that my password was too weak. I want people to know that it was so scary because people thought we were in distress."

At the beginning of the chatting, the hackers were only using Nicole, but once they were asked questions about Rocky and their kids, then the hackers started using them in the conversation as well.

Starr contacted the RCMP and has been telling as many people as she can. The RCMP in Prince
Rupert said there haven't been any other issues or people from Prince Rupert having a similar experience that have been brought to their attention.

After reporting the incident by sending an email to Facebook and encouraging many of her friends to do the same, Starr received an email back indicating her account had been temporarily suspended.

"It is possible your email was also compromised by cyber criminals," the Facebook email stated.

Starr has set up a new account with a more complex password, but said she has lost all of the
information she had on the old one.

"It really sucks because I had posted albums and comments but I'm glad that everything is back to normal and that my friends have all asked me back on their Facebook."

Starr isn't alone in being a victim of this particular scam. Other people have reported similar incidents and while it's not known how many other people have been affected, the Facebook help centre has warned users to watch out for messages from friends or others claiming to be stranded and asking for money.

Starr's experience comes just days after Canada's privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart announced that the commission has made a deal with Facebook to beef up its privacy protocols to curtail the sharing of personal information with outside companies.

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