Facebook is one of the most popular websites in the world, but it’s not without its risks.
One of the more popular ways that malicious parties misuse Facebook is by creating fake accounts.
Scammers copy existing profiles – including name, personal information, and profile pictures – before masquerading as this person to their friends.
They then use this window of trust to commit a variety of crimes.
One of the most common crimes that these people commit is called “catfishing.”
This involves using a fake account to convince Facebook users to enter into an online relationship with the fake user.
The criminals then utilise these relationships to convince Facebook users to send them money.
These catfishers will target individuals who look like they’re vulnerable to being catfished.
To solve this, be vigilant when it comes to initiating relationships online with people that you have never met.
Another possible scam that fake accounts can implement is phishing.
Phishing involves convincing people to click on links, which then allows the criminals to install malware on the computer of the victim.
This allows criminals access to the victim’s data, which can then result in a variety of other cybercrimes including keylogging, and stealing passwords.
There have even been numerous reports of fake accounts being used to spread political propaganda, such as when Russia allegedly tried to meddle in the USA’s 2016 elections.
Facebook announced that over 1.3 billion fake accounts have been taken down in the first half of this year alone – showing the scale to which this trend has become a problem worldwide.
This trend isn’t limited to personal accounts – there are many pages that disseminate fake information under the guise of being an authority.
It is crucial to protect yourself from being caught out by fake accounts on Facebook.
If any communications seem even slightly strange, do a thorough scan of the account’s profile.
A clear sign that an account is probably fake is if all content on the account was posted recently. A genuine account will usually have been active for years, whereas fake accounts upload content in a short time.
Another consideration that you should keep in mind is that it is possible for your own account to be duplicated fraudulently. It is worth searching for your own name regularly to ensure that someone isn’t posing as you on Facebook.
If your friends tell you that someone is posing as you online, it is worth immediately letting everyone on your friend list know that you have had your online identity stolen.
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