Fake it til you rake it with a fake Facebook profile

Today I’m introducing you to the Facebook profile of a friend of mine called Luisa. Local media figure around town and my co-host on radio each weekday. And I’m introducing you to this particular profile for the simple fact that Lu doesn’t actually have anything to do with it, it’s not her behind the scenes. In fact no one is entirely sure who built it or is currently pretending to be Luisa, attempting to scam as many of our listeners.

What we do know is that Facebook took a look and decided ‘Nothing to see here’ before sitting on their hands and doing nothing, even though it’s obviously faker than bits on a high performing porn star..

This fake Facebook profile certainly does look like her..

Uncannily so, given they’ve boosted pictures off her legitimate profile and Instagram and put it on this new fake one. They’ve even linked her actual Instagram to it so if you pop along and wonder if she’s the real deal, it almost looks convincing. And if you’re convinced enough, you may just believe the post at the top of this fake Facebook profile:

How this particular fake Facebook profile works

  1. The scammers adopt the identity of a media personality and build a convincing profile with a few posts and pictures to make it look as much like the real person as possible. Their most recent post on it will be a prize post like the one above where people can click to win big cash or something else equally as tasty.
  2. Having built the page, they’ll then troll the radio station Facebook page and comment on a tonne of old comments, telling people that they’ve won and ‘to check out my profile for details on how you can claim your page.’ Usually they’ll go back through years worth of fan comments before they start posting, making it far harder for the people behind the page to detect (unless savvy fans alert you to it.)
  3. The scammed listeners will then visit the fake Facebook profile, see the top post, click on the link and be taken to an off Facebook site where they’ll fill out some forms and unwittingly hand over their credit card details in order to claim their prize.
  4. Then we nothing happens (and money comes out of their account), they’ll come back to us and ask ‘Hey guys, is this legit?’ and we have to tell them the bad news that they’ve just been scammed..

And before you scoff and say ‘Who would fall for such a thing in 2022?’ let me tell you sadly plenty have. It’s close to Christmas, the price of everything is on the rise and suddenly someone you listen to on the radio daily contacts you directly to give you $1000? It’s a Christmas/back end of ’22 miracle!
Ahh, if only.

But shutting this stuff down should be a simply process right?
Ahh, if only.

We checked and everything is above board!

Lu contacted me about the fake Facebook profile last night wondering if anyone at work had reported it and just in case they hadn’t, I sent some details through to our social media and legal teams to have at it (this is not their first scammer rodeo sadly.) After that, I hit the ‘report this profile’ option on the fake account, pointing out it was definitely not my friend Lu. Facebook acknowledged my alert with this email:

Hi Al, thanks for letting us know about someone impersonating your friend on Facebook. Reports like yours are an important part of keeping Facebook a safe and welcoming community. Since this is happening to your friend, we’re going to close your report and follow up with your friend directly once we’ve reviewed the account. Thanks again,

The Facebook Team

Pretty much an open and shut case if you compare the real account to this fake one yeah?
Ahh if only.

They did contact Lu directly shortly after I raised the issue to tell her they’d found it not to be a fake account. Even though it’s the same name and same pictures, supposedly working in the same business and fleecing out listeners of their credit card details, they deemed it safe. But of course it was – fake Lu must be real Lu’s long lost scamming twin sister!

(Is there any wonder why I’m getting less impressed by social media by the second when impersonators like this have free reign to run riot?)

So we did what we could while we waited for our legal department to bring out the heavy artillery, namely created a lot of awareness of the issue both on the radio and Facebook itself, deleted any instance of this scam off our own social page and hoped like hell things would be sorted well before anyone else got stung.

The next day (at the time of writing)

Interestingly I can’t find Fake Lu via PC Facebook search at all and when I look via the Facebook app on my phone, all I get is this:

Which is promising. Hopefully that’s the result of better connected people to Facebook than Lu or I am hard at work and hopefully not because the scammers are onto me talking/reporting on this and have blocked me. Either way, I hope there’s a wayward bus with their name on it heading their scamming ways soon enough.

What to do if someone makes a fake Facebook profile of you or a friend:

-If it’s a friend, first and foremost let them know about it so they can put it out there that no, this idiot isn’t me.

-If it’s one made of you, first and foremost put it out to your fans/followers/family/everyone on your list that no, this idiot isn’t me. While a fake Facebook profile hasn’t been made of me (yet), the fake Lu profile does have my head in it so I thought it was best to get on the front foot with this:

(Since I do a lot of creative stuff on Facey, imitating that might be a touch difficult for your garden type dropkick scammer.)

The more you get the message out there, the less likely people are to fall for it.

-Report them and then get your friends to report them to Facebook. Yes I know I’ve pointed out how completely useless this was for this case above but my theory is that the more reports they get, the more likely they might be to actually look a little harder that a one second gloss over and a quick ‘Nup, nothing happening here that we can see’ follow up. It certainly couldn’t hurt to try..

-If you have a legal department at work (and most media outlets do/should) then give them all the details. It’s amazing how quick they can get things up and running when other methods have failed.

And finally if you’ve fallen scam to a fake Facebook profile like this?

Immediately get on the phone to your bank/financial institution and let them know. Yes you might not want to admit you’ve just been fooled and lost some money over what you hoped was a legitimate prize but these things happen. You certainly won’t be the first person scammed and sadly won’t be the last either. The banks have fraud departments to help with these things and stop your card from getting stolen from any further (and if they can track down where the money went, hopefully they can lend a little weight in getting that account shut down too.)
Call your bank, they’re here to help. (And if not, time to find another bank!)

Of course this fake media profile stuff isn’t the only thing you need to be aware of on Social media land, according to Facebook you should also read up on loan scams, job scams, romance scams and app token scams. These scamming buggers are everywhere!

Fake Lu, look out – we’re onto you!

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