North Miami criminal lawyer Michael Adam Haber had one thing to say to somebody named “Raven Spartan.” He didn’t mince words.
“Memo to ‘Raven Spartan’: F*ck you buddy.”
What has Haber so upset?
His identity was stolen on Facebook. Again. And both times, the scammer used a photo of Haber and his son Aiden to get something from another person. The first time, someone fraudulently used his account and image to bilk a California retiree out of $13,000.
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In the latest instance, Haber says someone going by the name “Raven Spartan” took his Facebook picture, which depicts the shirtless and clearly in-shape father with his young son on their boat, to pass himself off as the family man to score with a woman.
“You contacted a lady through Messenger trying to get her email info, a KiK connection and even talked marriage using pics of me and my son? Well, you’ve been served a**hole. Say good bye to your bogus FB profile and say hello to the IC3 (to whom I have reported you).”
Formed in 2000, and renamed the IC3 in 2003, the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center is staffed by personnel with expertise in prevention, detection and investigation of cybercrimes.
Haber found out his Facebook photo had been used because the woman — “who was the target of this scumbag’s scam” — sent him a message with a screen shot of the fake profile and a summary of the man’s actions.
Haber is not alone.
Of Facebook’s 2.07 billion accounts, the social media giant reported that 10 percent of its monthly users are estimated to be duplicate accounts in 2017, up from 6 percent estimated previously. The social network’s number of fake accounts, or accounts not associated with a real account, increased from 1 percent to about 3 percent, according to a report in Business Insider last November.
When this happens to you, you can do as Haber did and report the fake account to Facebook through its help center in the settings mode. The best way to do this is to go onto the impersonating account if you can access it. If you can’t find the fraudulent account, try searching for the name used on the profile or ask your friends if they can access it and send you a link to it. Click on the cover photo and select ‘Report.’ Instructions will guide you through the process.
“I was able to view and report the bogus profile, and Facebook took it down,” said Haber, the son of Dr. Leonard Haber, the late psychologist and former Miami Beach mayor.
“I also filed a report with IC3, the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center, but that’s all that I could do, and, unfortunately that is all that you can do. Watch out for scammers. They are out there,” he added.
IC3’s mission is “to provide the public with a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation concerning suspected internet-facilitated criminal activity and to develop effective alliances with law enforcement and industry partners,” according to its website.
Said Haber: “If you’re the victim of, or even if you’re just aware of any cybercrime — say, for instance, you discover that your elderly parent sent money to someone that they met on the Internet and you suspect that it was a scam, or perhaps you sent a nude selfie to someone and later got a text or email threat from ‘that someone’s parent’ claiming that the recipient was a minor and unless you sent them money they will call the cops — then you can call and report the matter to IC3.”
Watch out for scammers. They are out there.
North Miami criminal attorney Michael Adam Haber
Haber has had to use the FBI’s resources before.
“The first time this happened to me I got a call at about 10 p.m. from a lady in California asking if I was Michael Adam Haber, the lawyer. She told me that someone had used my name and pictures from my Facebook page to create a bogus profile and that that person, claiming to be me, had scammed her elderly mother out of $13,000. The daughter knew it wasn’t actually me, but her mother, who apparently had fallen for the fraudster, had been scammed, and her daughter was trying to prevent her mother from sending any more money to the scammer,” he said.
The person used another picture of Haber with his son Aiden.
“The fraudster had groomed this susceptible elderly woman over a period of weeks, telling her that ‘his son, little Billy’ needed cancer surgery and that she could help. After a $13,000 electronic payment was made from the vulnerable victim’s bank account to the fraudster her daughter started asking questions, discovered what had happened, and called me in an effort to convince her mother that she had been scammed,” Haber said.