Recently, someone set up a fake Facebook personal profile pretending to be a member of our clergy here in the Diocese of Fort Worth; the spelling of the name was just one letter off. Some friends of the real person had accepted friend requests from the fake profile, however, and when they realized it was a fake, they helped get it taken down.
So, what’s the best course of action in a situation like this? Our Social Media Coordinator, Susan Kleinwechter, offers these tips:
If you ever get a friend request from someone you’re already friends with, check with them to see if they really sent it. They may have unfriended you and are trying to reconnect. You can also look closely at the account that sent you a friend request. Does it seem like the real deal?
If something is off, you should do three things: report the fake account, unfriend the fake account, and warn your mutual friends.
Instructions for how to unfriend an account; this page also has a link to specific instructions for mobile devices:
What’s the danger of a fake account? To the real person, loss of good will among friends and loss of reputation. To the real person’s Facebook friends, to data mine their profiles or send them spam links to malicious sites.
Facebook acts quickly with fraud reports, so quickly reporting a fake account is an important first step for everyone to help with.