Darby student targeted in Facebook scam

Malik McDowell

January 9, 2013 3:13:23 PM PST
Police say a student from Darby, Pa. has fallen victim to a scam that is becoming more common on Facebook.

The student, who did not want to use her name, said she got a message over the social networking site back in December. That message said TD Bank wanted to give her $800 to participate in a money transfer promotion.

"I didn't think about whether it was a scam. I was just thinking about the holidays coming up and I had a bill for my tuition," she said. "It seemed like an easy way to get money."

The student was told she would need to meet the message sender, a man who called himself Rob, and give him her debit card number and PIN number to participate.

The student went through with the meeting, giving him the card and the information.

"He also stated that, after a very short period of time she would have, in her account, $800 after the transfer program of TD Bank went through," said Chief Robert Smythe of the Darby Borough Police.

A day later "Rob" returned the card. The student soon found out she had been robbed of $1,100.

Angry at being scammed the student went back to Facebook and set up a new page under a false name and laid a trap.

This time the man, now calling himself Kev, again pitched the $800 scheme.

The student went to police and, when the man showed up, undercover officers arrested him.

He has been identified as 29-year-old Malik McDowell.

"Nobody's giving away free money in this day and age," said Chief Smythe. "Somebody comes to you and says they're going to give you $800? You don't have a prayer of getting $800. You're getting scammed."

Police are now working to find other victims, because McDowell was allegedly in possession of other debit cards at the time of his arrest. Investigators also say he may be part of a team working to scam people.