Facebook (Scams) for Business

I received an email from a client earlier this week who received a strange call from a young woman in Kentucky.  She called to ask about the free beach towels their company was giving away for “liking” their Facebook page.  Come again??  

Turns out a scammer created a fake Facebook page using their company logo and identifying information, and created an application to capture personal information.  “Like us and get a free beach towel”, the landing page said.  As soon as you Like the company page,  a form is presented for you to complete your name and mailing address to receive your “free towel”.

Our guess is the scammer is trying to collect as much data as possible before the page gets shut down so they can turn around and sell it to data mining companies who pay good money for personal information.  Anyone who submitted their name and address through the form can expect to get on lots of junk mail lists in the near future.  

Facebook makes it relatively easy to report someone for impersonating a person, but it takes a little digging if you want to report that someone is impersonating your business.  My advice to our client was to report the page for trademark/copyright infringement since it used their company name, logo and identifiable information.  The link to report such violations is located here: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact/?id=208282075858952

Unfortunately because of the size of Facebook and the number of users, situations like this do not get resolved very quickly.  As of this posting the page is still live, and the # of Likes continues to increase.  Who knows how many unsuspecting people are submitting their contact information to the scammer in the meantime?  For years many have questioned why Facebook doesn’t put more strict controls in place to prevent these situations from occurring.  It seems the most obvious solution is to make a business prove they are who they say they are before creating a page.  But that creates an entry barrier, and also would cause a resource drain for Facebook (read:  it would cost them money) so don’t expect this to happen any time soon.

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