Councilwoman Diane Smock has not been kidnapped

smock2After botching the call on last night’s kidnapping, I feel like I need to redeem myself with a sure thing. Thus, I offer you this fact:

Greenville City Council member Diane Smock is not currently being held at gunpoint in London.

Unfortunately, that’s not what her friends were hearing yesterday.

It started yesterday when Smock’s Facebook account started displaying some pretty scary messages. The messages begged for help and said she was in trouble.

Obviously, Smock’s friends were worried. Some of those people turned to the Facebook chat function where they learned Smock was in London, being held at gunpoint, and needed a money wire immediately. Obviously, it was not an ideal situation. Smock is apparently a frequent traveler and it would not be inconceivable that she could be in London.

When Smock’s phone started ringing off the hook, she knew there was a problem, and it didn’t involve her immediate demise by a kidnapper’s gun. Turns out, her Facebook account had been hacked and somebody was using it in an attempt to fleece her Facebook friends. Smock ended up shutting down her account.

I learned about this from our mutual friend Julie, who wrote later on her Facebook page, “As an elected official, she used Facebook to stay in touch with people and issues in the community. And, like the rest of us, she found lots of fun and laughter in reconnecting with old friends after many, many years of having no contact. It’s an even bigger shame that she never received any communication from Facebook about such despicable actions meant to incite fear and scam money.”

It’s hard to believe this kind of hack is even worth the time for the hacker. Not many people are going to believe such a thing. Then again, the Nigerians seem to have something going with that e-mail scam, so maybe this is just the Web 2.0 version of the old Nigerian Prince thing. If you’re a Facebooker, you might wanna be careful with those passwords.

As I am a Facebook user and frequent traveler to places where kidnappings aren’t necessarily uncommon, I do have a mild concern this kind of thing could end up scaring some of my friends. So, let’s make a deal. If I get kidnapped in Argentina next month, I won’t use Facebook to ask for my ransom money. Deal?

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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4 Responses

  1. Jim The Knife says:

    I heard about a similar scam months ago and it WORKED. People just kill me. Anyway, I HAD facebook for about 2 months. I connected with a few childhood friends which was a major plus for me. After that, I found it to be a giant waste of time and extremely childish, so I dropped it. Haven’t Twitted yet. Probably will not as it appears to be similar to facebook…….??????

  2. Special K says:

    The same thing happened to me when my hotmail account got hacked. The email that went out to all of my contacts siad that I was “in trouble” in London and to please wire the money, bla, bla, bla. What a pain. Luckily, I have a few contacts at Microsoft and I got the account shut down and password reset pretty quickly. This probably won’t be the last time we hear about this type of scam.

  3. Average White Boy says:

    Still, you’ll have to let us know if you get kidnapped… how about a secret code on Twitter? “ca-CAAAA ca-CAAAAAAA”

  4. Da Goddess says:

    I think the special code is a great idea. I’ve decided mine will be an angry rhinoceros. Snort, scuffle, snort. Something like that. So, Otis, if you ever happen to see that on my blog or on Facebook, you’ll call the cops, right?

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