Vikki Vargas, Lori Bentley
A Facebook page claiming to memorialize Javier Ramirez was deemed a fake by his mother, who fielded calls from concerned friends and family members expressing their condolences for the loss of her son, who was very much alive. Todd Plesco explains how Facebook users can protect their online identity. Vikki Vargas reports from Fullerton for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.
UPDATE: It turns out the Facebook page created for Javier Ramirez was not a scam, according to Fullerton police. It was the result of a teenager's misunderstanding of another teen's dark joke. Click here for the updated story.
Patricia Quintana says the calls started on Sunday with crying friends asking how she was coping after her son's death in a car crash. But, 7-year-old Javier Ramirez was alive, and at home with his mother.
"Too many people say, 'I'm sorry he pass away.' Why? Why they say this?" asked Ramirez' mother, Patricia Quintana.
Someone had taken a photo of the second grade boy and created a memorial page using the nickname Liddo Honesto.
Nearly 8,000 people have "liked" the page, but as word got out, others chimed in that the page and its message was a scam.
Quintana suspects the photos came from someone associated with a former babysitter who may have tried to raise money through a car wash.
"All of the people were crying," Javier said, "just because everybody think I'm dead. I feel scared."
Scams like this one are not uncommon, experts say.
"It's pretty much a daily occurrence," said Todd Plesco, head of information security at Chapman University.
Plesco's department is charged with keeping 25,000 accounts from getting hacked.
Quintana says she doesn't even own a computer, but is grateful she caught the online rumor about Javier.