Tech Q&A: Why do scammers create fake Facebook accounts?

Q: Why do scammers create fake Facebook accounts?

A: They have a few goals:

  1. To build fake personas on Facebook which can be sold on the black market for big money.
  2. To buy or use fake personas on Facebook to sell or promote things.
  3. Once trust or acceptance is garnered, they use the profiles to post links to malicious websites that will infect people’s computers and/or steal passwords.
  4. To launch social engineering campaigns via Facebook asking friends to ‘answer these ten questions about yourself’ — in order to gather personal information about people for the purpose of identity theft or hacking into people’s accounts.

There may be other reasons as well.

What You Can Do

Fake users may ask to be friends with you on Facebook. Even if you have friends in common, be careful not to friend anyone until you’ve spent at least a few minutes checking their profile. You may want to send the person a message and ask them why they were wanting to connect. If you identify a fake account, click the three dots menu icon and select Report to report the user account as shown below. By spending a few minutes, you can protect hundreds of social media friends and contacts.

20151030fr1045-facebook-report-user

Identifying Fake Profiles

Here are signs of a fake profile:

  • Their profile has only a few posts on the timeline.
  • There are spammy advertising-like posts on their timeline.
  • Their About page has very little information.
  • They claim to work for Facebook on their About page.
  • Although you supposedly have friends in common, you’ve never heard of the person.
  • You’re a middle-aged man and the person you’ve never met who wants to friend you is an attractive girl in her 20s or 30s.
  • The person has only a few profile pics.
  • The profile pics are suggestive.
  • The person has multiple profile pics, but of different people.
  • Their Facebook friends have unusual or seemingly fake names.

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