Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- A scammer swindled an elderly Rochester woman out of thousands of dollars by apparently hacking a Facebook account belonging to her friend. 

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That’s according to Rochester Police Captain Casey Moilanen. He said the victim reported getting the message on Nov. 13 then reported the scam to law enforcement on Thursday. 

Moilanen said the 83-year-old victim received a message from her friend’s account saying he got a $10,000 workers compensation payment. The message encouraged the victim to connect with a person who could tell her if she is eligible for a similar payment. 

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The woman followed the message’s instructions and began exchanging Facebook messages with a person who instructed her to purchase $1,000 worth of Apple gift cards and share the codes in order to determine her eligibility. 

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The woman told police she complied and was told she had qualified for a large payment but said she the scammer constantly messaged her to send more money so she could receive a payment. 

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The victim said she made seven transactions via the money sharing app Zelle before realizing she was being scammed. Moilanen said the woman sent the scammer approximately $12,600 in gift card codes and Zelle payments over the course of the multi-week scam. 

Moilanen says Facebook accounts are often hacked and that anyone who receives a message containing an offer from a friend should verify their friend actually sent the message. He also said anyone asking for payment in the form of gift cards is likely a scammer.

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