Alva Review-Courier -

What happens when someone hacks your social media account?


When two deputy sheriffs come into the newspaper office to ask if we know someone, it gets our attention. Turns out they were looking for an employee’s son to ask him some questions. Our employee was able to help them with some answers.

The young man’s Facebook account was hacked about four months ago. It wasn’t one of those things where someone clones your account, using your photo and name and then tries to get your friends to friend the cloned account. When that happens, it’s time to change your Facebook password.

However, in this case someone completely took over the young man’s account, changing the email address and password associated with the account. Then this unknown individual proceeded to post “contests” inviting his friends and followers to text back the time of the posting or the wording of a posted sign. It promised the first 10 or 20 or whatever number of responses would receive $50 or maybe $500. The numbers changed on each posting.

Of course, those who replied never received any money. Instead they were asked to supply a PayPal account or some other information to get the money. That information could then be used for other scams. (If it sounds too good to be true …)

Our employee took some screen shots (photos) of the fake contests and tried several times to get Facebook to remove the hacked account to no avail.

Apparently someone complained to the Woods County Sheriff’s Office about her son trying to scam people, and the deputies were following up. Maybe they can convince Facebook to take down the fake account. I wish them luck.

The deputies said they’re also receiving complaints from residents receiving strange text messages. I and others in the office have received them, too. The first time I received one of those group texts, I was intrigued to see one of the phone numbers listed belonged to my deceased husband.

At first, I tried blocking phone numbers listed. But I hated to block too many because the scammer was using local cellphone numbers. I might unintentionally block someone I didn’t want to block.

I did a little research and saw I could do a mass block of any number not in my saved list of phone numbers, but that wasn’t really practical either.

The deputies said these group text messages are really upsetting some people. The messages invite people to click on a link to view photos with promises they’ll enjoy them, suggesting unclothed females. The deputies didn’t really have any answers either. When I receive such messages, I just delete them.

Whatever you do about them, do not click on the provided link. That could allow someone to put a virus or some unwanted app on your phone.

A Scary Experience

Last week, I had a call from a Newsgram reader who had an experience related to another aspect of the Internet. Robert Hayes of Aline said he was visiting a friend who lives in Lawton. The lady lives in a high-crime part of Lawton but owns her home there and can’t move away.

As the two of them were relaxing on the front porch, they saw a young girl in her teens walking along the street. She came up to them and asked to make a phone call. The girl was obviously upset.

With a lot of encouragement, she told them she met a man online and agreed to meet him in person. He came to her small town and picked her up. Hayes said she told them the man “had his way with her” and then threw her out in Lawton. When asked her age, she told them she was 18, but they were skeptical because she looked much younger.

Hayes and his friend offered to drive the girl to her home, which turned out to be about 40 miles away. They left her there at the home of a relative.

Hayes wanted us to relay his story as a warning to people, especially underage people, to be very careful when meeting people on the internet.

Notes from Alva City Council

On a completely different topic, Monday night’s Alva City Council meeting was very long with 34 items on the agenda.

Councilmember Mary Hamilton announced this will be her last meeting. She has served Ward 3 since Mayor Kelly Parker asked her to fill a vacancy on the council, retaining her seat through elections. Hamilton prepared some remarks in announcing her resignation which will be reported later this week in the Alva Review-Courier. She hopes to devote more of her time to attending and enjoying activities involving her grandchildren.

It will now be up to Mayor Parker to find someone to fill the vacant council seat. That appointment will require approval from the city council.

The council members voted to adopt the International Existing Building Code Monday night. The city adopted the International Building Code several years ago. Monday night’s action gives owners some options when remodeling and adding on to existing buildings. It’s hoped this will make Alva more business-friendly. The new code will take effect in 30 days from June 21.

Another interesting item reported by Finance Committee Chairman Brandon Sherman is the amount of money the City of Alva will be paying for a state audit. This is a “citizens’ petition audit” by the office of the State Auditor and Inspector. A petition was circulated and signed by enough people that the state agreed to audit the city, but the city has to pay for it. So far it has cost $12,976 not including a May visit. It’s estimated it will cost Alva about $65,000 by the end of the audit. That doesn’t include all the time spent by staff researching answers to questions.

Wonder how much street paving $65,000 would provide?


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