Facebook Scammers Target Police Department

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CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio -- A police department seems like the least likely place internet scammers would target. But that's exactly what happened to the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department.

"Actually, we didn't know anything about it until yesterday morning. A gentleman walked into the lobby, and he had a printout and said, 'I'm here to pick up my free offer,' " said Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Thomas Pozza.

The man who came into the station said he found the free gift offer, supposedly from the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department, on Facebook.

"And it wasn't on our police department's Facebook page itself, but everybody who liked us got sent a notice of some sort," Pozza said.

The notice told people to click on a link, which took them to a different page, then told people to print out a piece of paper to redeem for the so-called free gift, he said.

So, in the spirit of investigation, Pozza himself tried it out and clicked the link.

Nothing happened. Or so it seemed at the time.

But when he logged onto his personal Facebook page Thursday morning, there was a notice that someone else had tried to access his account from another location, he said.

"And it was in the country of Turkey," Pozza said.

The chief said they don't know exactly what the scammer gets access to, if the link downloads a virus or not, but they do know one thing: “In some high-tech fashion, somebody in Turkey, in some techie way, has sent a message to everybody who is friends with our police department, and if you click on it, they somehow get information about your Facebook account," Pozza said.

Pozza changed his password and says the city's IT department is looking into it further.

His advice to fellow link-clickers?

Do the same, and remember that police departments are not known for their on-line giveaways.

"Don't click on it," Pozza said.

They removed the bogus link from the police department’s Facebook page and added a warning about the scam.