Scammers Are Pretending to Be Your Facebook Friends

© AFP/File Karen Bleir

Scammers are creating fake Facebook accounts under the name of users’ family and friends in order to trick people and steal information, according to Fox News.

The report warns of online criminals creating fake profiles under the guise of familiar faces to certain users, stealing their name and pictures in order to trick others and extract information. The scammers then send “friend requests” to people on the victim’s friends list, messaging them and pretending it’s a new account.

Some of these scammers may attempt to just harvest and sell user information to buyers, but more nefarious individuals may message people asking to borrow money under the false face of their friend, or dangerously arrange to meet up with them in an unknown location.

Though the Better Business Bureau reported on the activity last year, this malicious trick still very much exists.

“I received a request from ‘Linda’ (name changed), a relative I was already friends with on Facebook. Odd, I thought. Perhaps her account was shut down, and she had to start a new profile?” wrote Elizabeth Holton in a story for the Better Business Bureau.

I clicked on Linda’s photo, which showed her with her kids. We had one mutual friend, and her latest Facebook activity read “34 new friends.” It seemed like she did have to start a new account after all. I accepted.

Minutes later, I received a message. “Hello,” it said. “How are you doing?” Interesting. I hadn’t heard personally from Linda in quite some time. Perhaps she wanted to explain the new account. I replied that I was fine, and looking forward to an upcoming event. Right away, she responded: “okay.”

Now the red flags were popping up. This didn’t seem normal. Another response came: “I am so happy and excited.” This didn’t seem like Linda at all. Now, I was even more curious. I waited, and the ball dropped. Here’s the message my “relative” sent:

“I am so happy I got 200,000$ in cash from the National world help company…Did you not get it they have been helping the poor people and Retired,Unemployed, Worker’s, Disable, and people’s like us who are in need of money to make there possible living.”

Since these scams can sometimes be quite convincing, it is recommended that all users of Facebook double check their new friend requests to make sure that they are not falling prey to a scam. Obvious signals like poor grammar and English and strange wording should be noted, and you should always double check with a friend if a new account of theirs pops up.