By Jordan Fabian - 12/21/09 03:55 PM EST
Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) announced Thursday that she has become a victim of a Facebook scam.
Her office issued a release Thursday afternoon saying that unknown individuals have co-opted her image, name and the names of family members to solicit money using fake accounts on the social networking site.
"As someone who has spent a lot of time working on issues of Internet safety and identity theft, I know how widespread scams like this have become," Bean said in. "I encourage everyone to be careful and follow common-sense procedures...before giving out personal or financial information over email, or to someone who has contacted you via email."
Once someone joins one of the fake Facebook pages, the perpetrators contact the individual with an e-mail purporting to be Bean that asks for money for “a supposedly legitimate cause, such as an orphanage.”
The release says that Bean’s office has notified law enforcement of the scam and the Facebook has shut down the fake accounts. Officials warned, however, that the scams could pop up in the future.
This post was updated at 10:06 a.m. on Dec. 22.