At first, I didn’t think it was possible to make the mistake of adding an impostor profile to my Social media, but I did because they were very clever. It took place a few months ago when I added someone into my group that I met briefly through my business life. I usually don’t turn down adding people who are acquaintances given that they may know others that could use my services or I could send referrals.
Adding someone we kind of know seems logical, but it’s safe, right? WRONG.
I had added Marvin, a realtor, to my account about 5 months ago. He liked a few of my pages and seemed on-the-level from his business posts. Of course, it wasn’t until I messaged him today that I find out how his business discovered that it was an account impersonating Marvin. How did I know?
The fake Marvin said that he had great news. He said USAID had setup a grant for helping old retired and respectable members of the community and he was picked for this $250,000 grant.
Most people would have congratulated him. But for me, a few things went through my head. First, who is USAID? Second, who creates grants for the elderly? Third, is Marvin really that old that he would get a grant?
Things did not add up. So after a quick Google search of “Facebook, USAID, fraud,” and BOOM. There it pops up: FRAUD.
Darn it. Another possible victim of fraud…or could it be more? So now I call Marvin just to see if it was him messaging me.
After a 10 min chat with Marvin, it was verified that it was not him who had messaged me on Facebook, but an IMPOSTOR. Marvin, who is Facebook illiterate and pays someone to manage his account, has now become a victim of fraud on an online platform.
After some brief instructions, the impostor was reported to Facebook. It has made me wonder, what could I have done to ensure I don’t add these Impostors to my group of acquaintances?
My list will be very short and sweet, but this is what I would do to ensure next time I don’t add anyone who may not be legit.
Before adding someone who randomly requests to be a friend, ask how we meet or know each other.
Okay, my grandma just created a new Facebook account, but I would know that. Sometimes though, the requested party may ask to add me and have several similar contacts, but you need to see how long they have had their account. The shorter the time-period…be suspicious. Then go back and ask #1.
No word of a lie, I did this for a gal who was trying to add me on LinkedIn. I googled her and she came up as a Lawyer, Accountant, Realtor, and so on. Even I could not accomplish so many titles and job positions at the age of 32. She had several similar friends and could see I was attending events. However, this particular impostor was spread all across Google under different professions.
Once you have tried all these, PICK UP A PHONE AND CALL THEM. That would be the ultimate test.
There you go. My two cents on how to become more aware of who to add into our circle of friends, and how to catch those bad guys.
If you do find an impostor, you can report it on the social media platform under settings. Also, sometimes you can find options to report them by clicking within the discussion.