PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH ALL THOSE FAMILY & FRIENDS WHO CONSTANTLY POST NONSENSE ABOUT “LET US SEE WHO CARES ETC ETC”
Have you noticed an increase in requests from friends not to SHARE their post but rather COPY and PASTE?
Have you ever wondered how scammers choose which Facebook profiles to clone? Well actually, these two questions are linked. Read on …
A cloned profile is not a random act. The scammers choose their victims carefully by trolling Facebook profiles from lists of Facebook users that they harvest in a variety of Copy/Paste scams.
So how does a scammer get a list of potential victims? There are several ways to do this. The quickest being to open a fake Facebook competition offering free flights or cars and requesting that people share, like and comment to be automatically entered.
Any of these three actions will get you (and your friends) on a database list that criminals can use to select their victims. Of course, as a criminal harvesting profiles, they need the message to stay active as long as possible to get as many people hooked as they can.
If 5000 people share a fake post and the post ultimately gets reported as being linked to a scam (which usually takes a few days) Facebook will removes the original post … ‘boom’ all 5000 instances of the shared post also vanish.
As Facebook and Facebook users get wise to these tactics, the ways to harvest a list of suitable victims have to be subtler and more resilient to being caught.
One such way is get people to COPY/PASTE a post. There are currently thousands of examples, the most recent include cancer or suicide awareness often with added statements that ‘I know only 5% of my true friends will react’. The scammers introduce these posts deliberately knowing that it will push all the right emotional buttons in many users.
Also, when a criminal creates a meme or photo and requests that it be shared, the originator can be traced and the fake profile or at the very least the original post (and therefor all subsequent shares) can be removed.
This is not the case when you copy/paste.
Essentially, there is no way to trace a copied message back to the scammer. However, it is very easy to search Facebook and get a list of everyone who has copied the message.
So, for example, let’s say I am a criminal and I need useable Facebook profiles to clone, I will start by creating a fake profile and creating a message. “Let’s have some fun. In the comment section give me one word that describes how we first met, then copy and paste this on your wall (don’t share) so I can do the same to you. Don’t spoil the fun, even though I know only my ‘real’ friends will do this”.
I then start sharing this text and before long it goes viral with hundreds, then thousands of people copy and pasting the text. Facebook doesn’t recognize it as a scam (as it often does with requests to share) and since it is almost impossible to trace the originator, it can live a lot longer than sharing.
After a few hours, I log on and do a search and, violà, up comes a list of all the people that have copy/pasted my text and I can access many of their profiles and friends lists, which then gives me the opportunity to select profiles to clone.
The sad reality is that most people that are copy/pasting these texts believe in the messages contained therein and are oblivious to the damage that could result from cloned profiles. If you must duplicate a text you believe in, then sharing is actually the safer option or copy and paste but change the text to your own wording which will result in you remaining hidden when the scammer searches for the text.
If you want to help spread the message then please SHARE … don’t COPY/PASTE ?.