We all know people who over-share on Facebook. You don’t have to be a private investigator to discover way too much about an old school friend’s new baby body, or a vague acquaintance’s ‘complicated’ relationship. However, most of us try to only share this information with our Facebook Friends – the approved people who we might actually know, or at least who we think are real people.
The problem is, it’s very easy to create fake or duplicate profiles. There’s nothing stopping a scammer from taking one of your friend’s names and creating a profile that mimics it. And given how easy it is to get the information of someone who hasn’t recently updated their security settings, these fake Facebook profiles can be very convincing. Most of us don’t add people we don’t know, but when a friend tries to add us, even if already have them on Facebook, it’s easy to believe that they deleted their old profile then made a new one, so sure, we’ll add them again.
But what’s the problem here? Well, there are a number of dangerous ways a fake Facebook account can be used:
1. For identity theft. A Facebook profile typically contains all the information an identity thief would need to impersonate you. An identity thief could create a fake profile to become your friend, then they could use your details to create a duplicate profile of you, to then gain access to your friends. It’s a nasty cycle of fakery, and one best nipped in the bud by not accepting the friend request from the initial fake profile.
2. Spammers and malware. Spammers, always trying to get us to open emails! But if it’s an email from a familiar name, you’re likely to open it. Thus, a fake Facebook account means spammers and malware creators have a great way to spread their viruses or annoying ads about erectile dysfunction.
3. Scammers. Worse even that spammers, scammers are out there to trick you out of your money, and they get creative with their techniques. As a private investigator Melbourne, Steve from Elite Investigations is often called on to investigate scams that have successfully tricked unwary people out of thousands of dollars. Scammers typically work through personal connection. If one of your friends contacts you in desperate need of money, since they were robbed while in Bali, or had their credit cards stolen and have to pay an urgent bill, you’re likely to want to help them out. You might put money into an unknown bank account, since theirs can’t be accessed right now. Or this fake friend might be trying to get you to click a link to a bogus website that’s phishing for your login details or credit card details. While you can be scammed when a friend’s account is hacked, it’s just as likely that a fake account has been created and you’re unaware of it.
4. Congratulations, you have a stalker. Everyone wants to be liked – but perhaps not by this person. If you have a stalker, they’re likely to try to gain access to your details and your circle of friends by created a fake Facebook profile. Gaining access to someone’s Facebook profile as a friend is a great way for a stalker to monitor your movements and activities, and to take the relationship from online to, well, personal. This is not a person you want to know where you are. If you are worried that you have a stalker, please contact a private detective Melbourne/Sydney.
So, you now know the major dangers of adding a fake Facebook friend. Next week we’ll see how to spot a fake Facebook profile.
In the meantime, if you’ve ever considered making a fake Facebook profile to try to prank a friend or find out information, be warned – you might not like what you find!
Here’s a 50% hilarious, 100% worrying example of how someone can get your details through a fake Facebook profile.
Theoretically, if it was to aid an investigation, a private investigator Sydney/Melbourne could create a fake profile to get information, as long as it was not to be used to commit crime. Like the aunt in the video above, you could use a fake profile for doing some private investigation. Unless you’re using that information harmfully, it’s not identity theft, thus not illegal. However, creating such an account is always against Facebook’s terms of service, so it’s safe to say no private detective would be creating a fake account. The most common reasons for fake accounts, apart from playing tricks on friends, are suspicious ones. Nobody wants fake friends, so now we know how to avoid them – at least on Facebook.