Fake Profiles – Are You Being Scammed?

So my daughter got a Facebook friend request yesterday from a young, very good looking lad. Being my daughter – apparently she does listen – she looked to see if they had any mutual friends. They did. But she noticed they were all girls her age. 

On further investigation she discovered he lived in Liverpool, some 200 miles from us, but worked for a local digital marketing company. Hmmm, she thought, that seems odd. She ignored her temptation to add this gorgeous chap and came to me with her findings. I immediately contacted the local company and they had never heard of him. TIP - The only way to stop someone saying they work for your company is by blocking them from the page. 

So why do people set these profiles up? No he was not a predator, he never attempted to message any of these girls. Yes it was a fake picture, we found it on Google moments later. What this individual was doing was building a particular audience of a very specific demographic – in this case teenage girls between 18 and 22. Once the profile has a good few thousand ‘friends’ it can be converted into a page turning the unsuspecting ‘friends’ into likes. 

The page can then be sold on to a business that markets to that demographic. These pages can sell for thousands. Sometimes it is the company themselves doing it. 

fake facebook accounts
Of course there are also some more dangerous ones like the ‘Profile Cloning Scammers’. An individual finds your profile. They set up a duplicate using your name and picture which can be easily downloaded. They then start sending friend requests to all of your friends. Once added they initiate idle chit chat. This usually involves some sob story about needing money. Some unlucky folk have been sucked in to this and actually sent funds to a PayPal account for what they thought was a friend in need. So how to avoid these scammers? 

  1.  If you get a friend request from someone you think is already your friend STOP! Do not add them. 
  2.  Go and search your friends list to find your REAL friends profile. 
  3.  Once clarified hit the ‘Report to Facebook’ button and immediately notify the real friend. 
  4.  Warn others by posting and tagging that friend telling everyone what’s happening. If you get a friend request from anyone else? 1. Make sure you have mutual connections that make sense. 2. Look at their number of friends to make sure it isn’t unusually high or low. 3. Check their posting activity to see if they just set the page up 
caution warning sign

Be cautious out there, there are some very naughty people.

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