I recently wrote about a fake Facebook page named ‘Team Advert’* that was sharing posts by other Facebook pages and threatening to have the pages unpublished unless their owners ‘confirmed’ their identity by entering their username, password, and credit card number. I reported the page to Facebook and had it shut down. I then went a stage further and also reported their phishing site (to which the Facebook page linked) to the hosting company and had that closed down as well.
The Facebook page and the phishing website were both shut down in around 90 minutes. This was a result, I felt.
However, since then I have seen two further fake Facebook pages sharing posts with the same scam message, a message that reads:
Your page will be unpublished.
Our system has received the following reports.
√ false name
√ fraud on your account.
√ you write content (coarse).
√ using other people’s images and obscene images.
To prevent fraud, please re-confirm your Account to avoid blocking here:
We reserve to close your account if you are found guilty or not verified within the time period that we specify.
And your account will be permanently disabled.”
The links in the message differ, as they use different websites for their phishing sites.
Both of these pages I immediately reported, and had them shut down by Facebook as well. This started me thinking though – if someone has gone to the trouble of setting up a scam, with different websites pretending to be Facebook that gather credit card details from unwitting people, they’ve probably done this on a grand scale. I bet there’s more of these pages, a lot more.
Sure enough, there is.
I ran a search on Facebook for a line used within the scam message: “our system has received the following reports” – I chose this line because it uses the plural of report, and is most likely not something Facebook would ever use itself. I used the speech marks around the line to tell Facebook I wanted an exact match search result, and to only show me results where that exact phrase was used, rather than a combination of the words. If you search without the speech marks, the results are too random.
The results were disturbing, really disturbing. I was presented with hundreds of post shares where business owners’ pages had been shared by different fake Facebook pages. How many of these business owners would have fallen for it and given up their Facebook logins and credit card details?
The following is a brief list of some of the fake scam Facebook pages I found:
They’re all 100% fake, and nothing to do with Facebook. They’re all performing the same scam, and they’re all linking to phishing websites that are trying to get people’s credit card details.
The real concern is that these pages were very easy for me to find. It took just a few moments in fact. Therefore, if I can find them this easily, why hasn’t Facebook already done so and shut them down? Why does Facebook make such little effort to stop scams like these? Why doesn’t it do something to protect people, and the businesses it desperately wants to use it for advertising?
Facebook – I’m speaking to you here – sort this out! It’s not difficult. The scammers are making it so easy for you to identify them, it should be easy to shut them down algorithmically, rather than doing any sort of expensive manual process. Once one fake page has been reported doing this, run a check for pages using the same pattern. That’s what I did, and I’m just a Welshman with a keyboard!
I will keep reporting them. I will keep getting them shut down myself. But I shouldn’t have to.