Digital Defense: KFBK Scam Report--Facebook Full of Phonies

You might never guess that your mom could scam you or the babysitter you had in third grade, but with Facebook and other social media, it is easy for them to get away with it even if it is not really them. 

Scammers on social media have gotten personal and too close for comfort by using you and people you know against you. So, it can be said that you and what you post are becoming your worst enemy especially if you accept a request from a Facebook phony. 

You’ve probably gotten a friend request from one. A profile created with a real friend’s name and picture and you accept. For example, the scammer uses your friend’s name from junior high and even their picture and sends you a friend request. 

Only it’s a Facebook phony who probably does not have any friendly intentions. 

Most of the time fake profiles are created for financial gain.

“They do tricks to ask someone to wire them money. There’s the ‘I’ve been mugged’ scam. I was actually on Facebook when I was contacted by a ‘friend’ asking that I wire them money because they had been mugged in London,” explained Doug Fodeman with thedailyscam.com.

Fodeman says once you accept the request, you immediately put your personal information at risk. Fodeman says the information you share on your page can help frauds create accounts in your name, help scammers learn passwords or get to know your habits.

“You show your habits, your personal lives, valuable clues. Could be clues to passwords that you use with other accounts. There are many parents who still use as a primary password a child’s name and a birthdate and the scammers know this," said Fodeman.  

He says sharing too much with a Facebook phony can easily leave you vulnerable. 

“Criminals break into people’s houses and when they interviewed the criminals and asked them, ‘How did you decide what houses to break into?’ A significant percent of them said they found on Facebook that people were away. They see they’re away for a week? Well, it’s open season,” warned Fodeman.

You also put your real friends at risk. 

“You’re legitimizing that scammer’s activity. The more people he tricks into accepting it, then the more people go in there and say, ‘Well, he’s got 24 other friends, I guess it’s ok,'" said Foderman.

Once you accept a Facebook phony you also give criminals free access to your friends list.

Fodeman says typically phonies have very little activity on their profile page, little to no friends, and few pictures. If they do have photos they are usually tagged with hundreds of people.

Criminals also know that links and downloads are more trusted went sent by social media so fake profiles are often used instead of email to send malware.

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