PUEBLO, Colo. — Fraudsters don’t have to actually hack into social media accounts to cause some major headaches for users on Facebook. News5 has a warning from one of our viewers in Pueblo who discovered someone created an account pretending to be him.
Year after year Facebook says it’s working to remove billions of fake profiles on the platform and in many cases people behind those profiles are impersonating someone else to get us to click links, give up sensitive information, or to straight up pay them.
”I got off of Facebook for years and I’m still not on it,” said Robert “Bob” Autobee, a News5 viewer in Pueblo.
The last time Autobee logged into Facebook was back in 2016. So, it was a surprise to him when people he knew started asking if he was back on social media.
”Just recently a couple of my friends reached out and said “Bob” I see you’re on Facebook again. I said no, that’s not me,” said Autobee.
It appears back in April someone took his old profile picture and started a spoof account posing as him. Being able to see his old friends list on the profile he hasn’t used in years, the imposter was able to add people who actually know Robert and trust him. This provided an opportunity to start conversations that ultimately end in asking for information and money.
”My thought is they are going to continue until someone falls for it,” said Autobee. ”I stopped it as quick as I could. I didn’t want any part of it.”
Robert is not alone in dealing with these headaches. Facebook announced in the first three months of this year alone it took down 1.6 billion fake accounts.
Mickie Cockrille of the National Cybersecurity Center says we need to do our best to report these situations when we see them because it’s such a big problem.
”These social media organizations are absolutely giant. They are dealing with numerous amounts of cases. You can imagine how many they deal with,” said Cockrille. “So the more eyes and information you can get on that and you can poke these social media giant companies to say hey there’s an issue, there’s a suspicion with this, the more the better.”
While some red flags may be more obvious, like people asking for money or private information out of the blue– cybersecurity experts say in some cases you might click a link and not even realize you’re handing over your login details.
”In worst cases there will be a fake login page where you put in your password information because you think oh I have to log-in to see this content I’ve been sent and then they steal your information right there,” said Cockrille.
Autobee hopes to see the imposter profile taken down soon, asking friends to report it and he’s working to get his old profile properly de-activated.
”What I’d like to do is catch the individual, but that’s almost impossible,” said Autobee.
If you discover someone has created a fake Facebook account in your name, or in the name of someone you know there are some steps you should take right away to report it, so it can be taken down.
Here are some resources with step by step directions to help you report a fake or spoofed profile on Facebook.
You may also want to put out a post to let your friends know what is going on and to ask them to report it as well.
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