Be Careful with Fake Facebook Pages

May 13, 2014

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A statement released by Facebook estimates there are up to 138 million fake user accounts on its website. These accounts vary widely.  Some are of cute animals or fictional characters that don’t really exist, and really pose no harm.

But some fake account may be posing as real people or companies, hoping to get you to like the pages — so your personal information can be gathered.

Fake company pages are a threat because sometimes it is not obvious that they are fake.  A fake Facebook page could include the same pictures or logos that the official company page includes.

Fake company pages may slightly change the spelling of the company name (Nordstroms instead of Nordstrom or BurgerKing instead of Burger King) or they may include a period at the end of a company’s name that is a little difficult to notice (Nike. instead of Nike).  There are a variety of methods scammers use to pose as a real company.

One scam use on fake company pages is to offer a promotion for “free stuff.”  You may see a post for a “free iPhone” or some other popular product.  If you click, you’ll be sent to a form to provide personal information, which will be used or sold to third parties. Most of the scammers will encourage you to “share" the promotion on your profile so that your friends can get involved.

Facebook now works to verify large company pages to prevent users from falling into these scams. Company pages verified by Facebook have a blue check mark next to the company name at the top of the page.

However, just because a company doesn’t have a check mark doesn’t mean that it is fake. If it doesn’t have a verification check mark, you may need to dig a little deeper to find out if that page is the legitimate company Facebook page.

Do your own filtering by paying close attention. If you see a promotion that a friend or company posts, double-check that promotion on the official company website. A promotion on Facebook will usually also be promoted on a company website. If it’s not on the company website, that should be a red flag (probable scam).

Another thing you can do to avoid these types of scams is to be cautious about things your friends share, pages you like, and Facebook pages that don’t have a long posting history.

If you find a Facebook page that you believe may be fake, report that page by opening up that page, click asterisk on the bottom of the cover photo, and click report/block.