The Facebook profile photo of New Jersey U.S. Rep. Albio Sires was hacked and used on a bogus Facebook page promising grant money meant to “eradicate poverty” in Central Florida and across the country.
Marinda Jones, of Orlando, thought the offer was legitimate and she lost $3,000 in the scam.
“I’m very sad because I was depending on that money...big!" she said.
She says the man she knew as Harry E. Edward, “looked so professional,” and she was convinced the smiling middle-aged man in front of the American flag had “answered her prayers.”
“The one thing that confused me is that it was supposed to be hush, hush you’re not supposed tell anybody," Jones said.
Jones was asked to send “installments” to men and women in the U.S. and Nigeria via Moneygram and Western Union.
The 62-year-old says she started suspecting it was a scam when Harry kept coming up with excuses for the delays of her $100,000 grant.
“Every time the money got put on the truck … he would come up with a different amount that I was supposed to send.”
With only $10,000 in annual social security benefits Jones saw the $100,000 as a chance to “get back on her feet.”
ClickOrlando.com contacted Sires to advise him the Facebook photo had been hacked and posted on the impostor site.
Sires, a Congressman in New Jersey’s 8th District, had no idea his Facebook photo was being used by international con men.
“I am disappointed by this misrepresentation but am pleased this scam was brought to my attention. I will be following up with the appropriate individuals in the U.S. House of Representatives to see if further action needs to be taken,” he said.
It’s not clear of the scam is being operated on a new site. The site using Sires photo was taken down.