Linda O Suilleabhain, from Dublin, told a Facebook group that her cat was missing before receiving replies from fake accounts with men telling her to come round
Image: DublinLive WS)
A worried mum is warning others after she received strange Facebook message frommen claiming to have her family’s missing cat.
The Facebook strangers sent messages telling Linda O Suilleabhain, from Dublin, to come round, but she was not taken in by the scam.
She told DublinLive how she posted onto a local online group that her family cat Eve had gone missing.
But it was then that she received a bizarre reply and she dreads to think what could have happened if she had gone along with it.
Linda said: “Eve, the cat went missing on the day after Halloween. The fireworks spooked her and there’s been no sign of her since then.
“On Tuesday evening, I got a message from a man and judging from his profile it all seemed kind of legit, a picture of him and his wife and his grandchild.
“He said: ‘Oh I have your missing cat’.”
Linda immediately asked for a picture of the tabby cat as she was afraid that it might not be her one, but the account stopped replying shortly after Linda asked for photos of the missing cat.
She said: “When I woke up the next morning and went into the messages, the profile had been deleted. Then I found message requests – three, four, five even. They were similar messages saying ‘I have your cat can you come up to my house?’ It was all obviously a ploy.
“It looked so believable. There were so many accounts like that in the space of 24 hours. I wouldn’t even say that’s their real photo. Everything was false.
“When I went into the other accounts, the accounts had been set up that day. It was scary.”
Linda contacted one of the admins of the local Facebook group, Finglas Fianna Fail Councillor Keith Connolly.
He quickly changed the settings on the group after hearing Linda’s story, before finding and blocking a number of recently set up accounts that had been causing hassle in the group.
Cllr Connolly said said: “As a result of that I found four profiles that were set up that day.
“They all had a mutual friend. I think some of them were the same ones that messaged Linda because it looked like the same lad setting up four different accounts.”
He also received a message from one of the fake accounts at 11:30pm, urging him to come fix the hole in their house.
Another account posted in about their missing son, something that was later proven to be false.
Linda worries about what could have happened if a less tech-savvy person had received a message, especially if they were desperate to find a family cat..
The mother used the messages to teach her 11-year-old daughter about the dangers of social media and how things aren’t always as the seem.
She said: “I knew myself I wouldn’t be going to a house without somebody.
“I’d be afraid if a teenager posed that they’d lost something then they’d go not thinking, or an elderly person or a vulnerable person. That’s where my concern was.
“They potentially could have gone round and God knows what would have happened. They didn’t have the cat so what did they want to do?
“It’s actually frightening. If I had gone I could have potentially not come back.”
MirrorOnline has contacted Facebook for comment.
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