Friends Beware: That Request Might Be From a Fake Page

Facebook and Other Sites Become Magnets For Identity Thieves

Joel Fuller is such a Facebook fiend he has thousands of friends. But lately, this New Rochelle party planner has heard from some of those buddies, letting him know his picture is popping up everywhere. Frequently, it's on other facebook pages designed by identity thieves.

"Somebody's basically trying to be me," said Fuller. "Using my tweets, my Tumblr, to try to replicate what i do."

Why would someone want to be Joel? Several reasons, said Chet Wiesnewski of the on-line security firm Sophos.

First, these fake friends might want to lure his followers to drum up their own business.  

They also might want to play an internet prank.

Third, and perhaps most dangerous, they might convince some of Joel's "friends" to provide credit card information or other financial data. Then the whole scheme becomes a money machine.

Wiesnewski said customers need to get agressive to remove these fake pages.

"You can do a takedown notice when it's your photograph. Companies like Facebook and Google if someone is using your photo, you can request they take it down and they generally comply with that."

In the meantime, don't be surprised if one of your friends tells you they've received a strange message from you. Chances are that message didn't come from you in the first place.


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