Last week I received a panic call from a business associate – apparently his wife’s facebook profile had been duplicated. She was quite upset, not only because part of her on-line presence had been compromised, but also because she represents a few businesses and charitable organizations with money changing hands. She was very concerned and at a loss for what to do.
So what do you do when you suddenly find you have a second facebook profile out there that you did not create?
First report it to facebook by following the directions here: https://www.facebook.com/help/263149623790594/
As facebook’s directions are a little vague – you will need to go to the fake page. Click the gear beside the word message on the fake person’s profile and select Report/Block – follow the directions from here.
After you have done this, email your facebook friends telling them what has happened. You should mention to them, they may receive a request from the fake you to ‘friend’ again. They should not do this. If they have already done so, ask them to unfriend the fake you and then report/block as per the directions above. The more people that report the problem the faster facebook is likely to do something about it.
This is 4 days later, and still the business owner I spoke with on Friday still has two facebook profiles – her real account and the fake account. I wonder how long it will take for facebook to remove the fake account.
So why does this happen. Here are a few reasons – none of them good.
1. Someone is bored and decides to have some so-called fun.
2. The account is created to be used to ‘LIKE’ pages and click on ads (there are businesses out there that sell ‘LIKES’ and do so by creating fake accounts to get the ‘LIKES’ for their paying customer’s business pages. Note: There are legitimate businesses that offer the ability to get ‘LIKES’ for your page. Be careful if utilizing one of these services.
3. The account is created as an alias for someone to watch the feeds of another person.
4. The account is created to be able to chat with people anonymously. Believe me, I have had my fair share of these. People request to be my friend and the next thing you know, I’m being asked out, or asked to join a mission, or religion — I’ve even been asked to send money.
To repeat. First report the fake profile yourself. Second warn your facebook friends. Third, have your facebook friends report the fake profile as well. Usually once the ‘profile thief’ finds out you or one of your friends has reported the account as a fake, they drop it and move on to someone else’s profile. Stay on facebook to remove the account as well.