News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on March 1, 2021

Facebook has about 2.5 billion active monthly users.   But who knows how many of those active "users" are even still alive.  For example, John Q. Public recently received a Facebook notification.  The notification said, “Joe tagged you in a photo on Facebook.” 

Now, Joe was John’s brother. But sadly, he died four years before John received the Facebook notification.  He knew it couldn’t be real, but the shock of getting the notification shook him up.  Someone had taken over his brother’s account.   The person then tagged more than 40 friends in a Ray-Ban sunglasses sale post.  The Facebook post directed people to a fake Ray-Ban website where scammers were hoping to sell their products.   Then they would steal credit card information.  And once the scammer had your information they would hack into other online accounts and continue their ruse.


The Ray-Ban scam was one of the most common scams on Facebook.  Unfortunately, it's all too common for deceased individuals to be the target of scammers looking to steal identities.  When a loved one passes there are so many things to take care of.  Including, what to do about all the accounts they have on the internet.  There are logins, passwords, security questions, and who knows what else.


Here are a few tips to assist you when dealing with the online accounts of loved ones. 


E-mail/social media:


Nowadays, we have online accounts for everything we do.  Which means usernames and passwords for a whole host of websites.  The problem is, every website has different rules to deal with a deceased person’s account. 


For example, Google requires documentation such as a death certificate.  And even after proof of death, this still doesn’t mean they will grant your request for access.  It is done on a case-by-case basis.   Some e-mail platforms such as Yahoo Mail don’t have any survivorship rights.  Under no circumstances will they provide you access to another person’s account.


Social media platforms all have different rules for obtaining access to a deceased person’s account.  But, you have to contact their customer support to see what the steps are.  Some companies will allow you to remove an account or turn the profile into a memorial page. 


Source: Jason Hanson, Security Specialist