Officials in Westchester debunked a phony Instagram page that saw fraudsters posing as the mayor of one of the county's largest cities.
The fraudsters posed as Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard.
On Sunday, May 17, city officials were made aware of the page impersonating Patterson-Howard that was using a tricky handle in “an attempt to deceive and exploit residents.”
The fake account uses the handle @MayorSPH_, while Patterson-Howard’s actual account is @MayorSPH without the underscore.
According to Patterson-Howard, the fake account sent out several personal messages with instructions for residents to call a fake text number with a 254-area code. The account requested personal information to secure phony governmental laws.
Police in Mount Vernon are currently investigating any criminal acts regarding the fake page scam on Instagram.
“These types of scams and fake page accounts have been prevalent for years within Mount Vernon. I urge residents to report any page that attempts to deliberately defraud, scam and misinform the residents of Mount Vernon,” Patterson-Howard said. “It is a great shame that someone would try to pull a stunt like this on our residents during the height of a global pandemic.
"We will be looking to use every resource available to bring these bad actors to light.”
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