This post should serve as a warning to those of you that accept friend requests from people that you do not know.
Two weeks ago, a woman sent me a friend request on Facebook. I had never heard of her, so I clicked onto her Facebook profile in order to investigate.
The account was fake, but it became obvious that the person behind it had gone through a lot of effort to make it look legitimate. They had done their research on my area and they had listed their place of work as a local hotel. They also had multiple photographs of the same girl – a girl that was pretty, but not overly-stunning.
They made one crucial mistake, however: This “girl” had listed an all boys school as her previous high school.
Unfortunately, a number of my mutual friends threw caution to the wind and decided to accept “her” friend request, despite having never heard of her. Within a day or two, the account had accumulated 100+ friends – all of them from my local area.
Once they accepted the request, the fake account began to message them in broken English, asking them if they would like to become her “acquaintance.” Most of them ignored her at this point, as they knew that something wasn’t quite right. A pretty girl being that forward with somebody they had never met before? It was too good to be true.
Unfortunately, one or two of them decided to think with their you know what, and opted to continue messaging her. Long story short: One thing led to another and eventually, they were trading compromising videos and photographs with the “girl” via Snapchat.
After they had sent their “compromising videos”, the fake account began to blackmail them – threatening to upload the videos to social media if they didn’t pay the fee. When they refused, she began to upload the videos to Youtube, all the while making sure to put their name and their place of work in the description. The title of the video was even worse, as it stated that they had sent the video in question to a 12-year-old girl.
Basically – the person uploading these videos wanted to try and sweat them as much as possible in order to get the money.
Once the video was uploaded to Youtube, she started sharing links to the video on Facebook, posting it to their timelines so that their friends would see it.
In the end, many of them had to delete their accounts completely and wait for it to blow over – hoping that they had deleted the video before their friends had managed to see it.
Since this happened, I have noticed an uptick in the number of fake Facebook profiles sending me friend requests. A lot of effort have been put into these profiles – as the person behind the scam knows that one or two payouts will make it all worth it. They are even using Facebook’s new “backdating” feature to make their profiles seem older than they are, as the feature allows users to make it look as though they uploaded a certain photograph back in 2011.
How to spot a fake Facebook account.
Typically, the profile pictures and cover photographs on fake Facebook profiles have a low like count. i.e. Their profile picture will only have one or two likes and there will be no comments on them. You’ll also find that the fake female accounts have a much higher ratio of male friends, which is unusual.
Still – the only way to be 100% sure is to not accept friend requests from people you do not know! And remember – if something seems to good to be true, it probably is.