Cree Targeted by Fraudsters Online

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Some Cree targeted by fraudsters online, and Elders are particularly vulnerable.

In December 2020, Ashley Hester’s fell for a scam sent to her through a trusted friend’s Facebook profile and has been in control over her profile ever since. The hacker has been reaching out to her contacts trying to get money and passwords. Her friend had also been hacked.

Ashley Hester stated that she feels violated and “angry about what’s going on. People are messaging me. I just keep posting a warning on my [old] Facebook and [the hacker] keeps deleting it.” Hester specifically points out that she is bothered that the hacker has access to all her photos, including photos of her two children.

How the hacker got in

The Waskaganish woman said she got hacked from her Facebook page after receiving a message from a trusted friend residing in Mistissini, another Cree community located about 700 kilometres drive east of Waskaganish.

Hester stated that “[It was] someone I trusted…she got hacked too by that same person.” Hester got a message from that trusted friend promising help to access a lot of money from a government program. 

 It’s a similar story with Henry C. Weistche from Wemindji whose account was hacked in June by someone promising to help people access special COVID-19 money.

Weistche said, “I don’t feel good, somebody’s using my Facebook account and that’s just not right.” Weistche continuously hears from his contacts that the hacker is reaching out offering to help people access $80,000.  He wants to ensure his contacts that it wasn’t him.

Common scams

Captain Audrey Icebound is with the Eeyou-Eenou Police Force. She declared that the most common scams in Cree communities are phone scams. Icebound says they have also had reports of COVID-19 scams in Cree communities.

Another popular scam is one where people are promised money if they prepaid cards. Once the person gives the scammer their banking information, instead of the promised money … their bank accounts are drained. 

Advice from Cree police

Icebound said people should never give out any personal information, even if the request seems to be coming from someone you trust. 

Elders are particularly vulnerable, according to Eeyou-Eenou police. Icebound recommended for the elders to have a trusted family member to help them manage their accounts.

I don’t really trust ordering anything anymore’ said Hester.

Weistche has shut down the hacked Facebook profile. 

Both individuals are greatly disturbed by hackers. This article was originally sourced by CBC.