Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Facebook fake account scam promising "Mega Bonus"

This morning a friend said hello on Facebook messenger. The message said that we hadn't talked before - which was believable as we normally use other modes. I accepted the message and we were away:

"doing pretty good" was a red flag right away. "help the Old, Retired, Disable, " was another indicator. Why can't these people get basic grammar right? Or is it deliberate? I asked for more.

Of course I won't be making contact and I wonder what the next steps would be. Presumably this is a 419 scam where some fees need to be paid to clear the way for the $150,000 (which will never arrive).

Meanwhile, I viewed the account page and could see a fake Facebook account with Richard's profile picture on it and no other content.

I was really hoping the scammer would answer my video call but no such luck.

This happened to me a decade ago and I know Facebook has a mechanism to report fake accounts. You go to the profile page, click the "..." under the profile picture and choose "Find support or report profile". There is an item there for fake accounts.

The instant I reported the account I started getting "query error" on it so I suspect others had also reported it. Facebook did act quickly in this case.

To create the fake page they must have been able to see Richard's page and copy his profile image. The scammers must be able to see his friends list too - which is concerning.

I looked at my privacy settings but they seem to change frequently and I'm really not sure if I'm still vulnerable. There should be one big switch that defaults to private but there's not.

The Facebook platform seems to be a major location for scams including all the posts designed to go viral that gather engaged users or capture information that could be used for identity theft.


Tony Stevenson said...

Thanks for documenting and reporting.
It's no doubt a growing challenge as 'bots' get smarter.
Constant need to keep re-wiring CAPTCHA etc must eventually introduce too much friction into online engagement and thus kill what we have with us now.
Similar challenge with fact checking - as per Brandolini's Law BS can be created far more quickly and easily than it can be refuted (although so far Wikipedia seems to be holding up).

PE4BAS, Bas said...

It is indeed a big concern. You and me have been dealing with it so many times. We can smell a scam from miles away. But think about elderly people or children. Why do people earn money this way...

Nr. 1 Scam here at the moment are the SMS that a package will soon arrive. I just have to click on a link (and probabely pey a fee) to get it.

By the way it is wise to change your fb password at least twice a year or more...

73, Bas

Peter Marks said...


Yes, I also get lots of SMS scam messages. A red flag is the URL has nothing to do with anything I have ordered and contains .php somewhere. It is annoying and it seems to me that it should not be easy to spoof the sender.


MaryS said...

I got 2 of these this week. I first got a friend request from a legit account of someone who is a facebook friend of one of my friends. When I accepted the request, it was followed up with the hand wave emoji and a Hi, How are you doing? msg. When I look at the msg, it shows it is from a new account even though it has the cover picture of the account I friended. When I block the new account, I am still friends with the real person, but the fake account can no longer msg me.

Peter Marks said...

Mary, it sounds like the "legit" account was a clone of your friend. If that's the case there's no problem blocking it and losing contact with your actual friend's account. There is a chance that their account has been hacked. Probably best to talk to them off platform to see if they know what's going on.