Getting Faked Out On Facebook

Copy Cat and Facebook ID thieves – It can Happen to You

By Hector Cisneros

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Online media from CNN to the UK’s Telegraph have reported that there are more than 170 million fake Facebook accounts. In fact, if you do a search for Fake Facebook profiles you will find almost 5 million references come up from your search. So there are fake accounts in all social networks, what’s the harm in that? Well, it could be some harmless fun just playing out a fantasy, or something bad like a rebuffed ex-lover looking to damage your reputation or even worse a criminal enterprise stealing your identity and phishing for more victims. In this episode of Working the Web to Win I will provide an in-depth look at Fake Facebook accounts, including my own brush with a faker trying to steal my identity. So if you’re ready to learn the truth about fake Facebook accounts and arm yourself with ways to keep from becoming a victim, read on a learn about what can happen, what to look for and what you can do to prevent this from happening to you.

Trying to Fake out the Connector - My Story

In 20016, I receive an email from a friend asking me if I was soliciting donations for a
Here is the account they tried to Steal! 
charitable organization I had not heard of. I immediately replied back that I was not, and asked if he could provide me more information. He sent me a copy of the message he received along with the link to the profile who sent it. Within minutes my research revealed that someone had created a fake “Hector Cisneros account”.  They had copied my exact image and some of my profile information, gleaned from Google and other places on the net. I took a close look at the profile and noted all the discrepancy and contacted Facebook immediately. I know from my work with Facebook that fake accounts are a big No No with Facebook and that the fastest way to get relief was to get them on the job of investigating my claim right away. To my surprise, Facebook pulled the fake account down within 15 minutes of my report.

Are Fake Accounts legal?

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Facebook's terms clearly state that each individual can only have one account. This was not always true. In the beginning, this restriction did not exist. Today Facebook states that you have to use your real identity and that each individual can only have one account. However, a person can have an additional account if the account is associated with a different business, entertainment venue (like a book or movie) or other enterprise or non-profit organization. I have one for each of my books, our radio show, and our company along with my personal account which has been up for 12 years.  All of these accounts are tied to a real person’s information, nothing fake.

Does your Fake Profile Make you a Criminal?

Breaking Facebooks subscriber agreement is the least of your worries. Uploading fake profile pictures can be a crime! Once you start uploading fake content and acting as if you're
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someone else, you are misrepresenting them and yourself. It can be construed as an identity theft, depending on what you do with that account. As soon as you start corresponding or interacting with others, you are pretending to be that person. The act of uploading pictures in someone's name (without their permission) and messaging others, whether your motive is sincere or malevolent, can be construed as, misrepresentation (a Civil Tort), stealing their intellectual property (copyright infringement) and you can be charged with committing identity theft (a crime in all states) and if convicted spend time in jail. See, “Jilted woman face 18 months in prison after being charged with identity theft for creating fake Facebook profiles of her ex-boyfriend”.  A good article to read along with Facebooks on terms is an article from called - “Fake Facebook Profiles: Are They Legal? Can I Get in Trouble?” 

Facebook is at War with Fakers

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Facebook, like most internet global players, has had trouble with fake accounts since its beginning. We have written about fake Facebook accounts in the past and it has been reported in many other online magazines from CNN to the Telegraph in the UK. The Huffington Post published a good article about this battle call “Facebook’s War Continues Against Fake Profiles and Bots”. Check it out. 

Facebook and other social networks have purged millions of what they deemed fake accounts on multiple occasions. Many celebrities have been on the losing end of these purges where hundreds of thousands of their fake followers suddenly disappeared. Facebook publicly states that creating any fake account violates their terms of use and that it is strictly prohibited.

Cop’s Create Fake Accounts

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To add to the confusion (and maybe invasions of privacy, or and entrapment) - the police are creating Fake Facebook accounts. In the Justice Departments publication - "social media guide for law enforcement officials", it shows officers how to create fake accounts to gather information on suspects they consider being at high risk of committing crimes. Read: “Police are Creating Fake Accounts on Facebook So They Can Monitor You, How to Identify a Fake Account” .

Facebook does offer a lot of useful information in their help center to deal with fake accounts. Here are some links to Facebooks Help Center outlining their policies, to help you stay clear of trouble. Read; "Names on Facebook""Making Page Likes More Meaningful",  and “How do I report a fake account?”

Types of Fake Accounts

Why do people create fake profiles? The reasons are varied and span from trying to get free stuff to outright criminal or malicious intent. - Check out this article from Quora - “Why do so many people make Facebook fake accounts?”   Here is my list of why fake accounts are created.
  1. Bullying - The fake account gives the perceived subscriber impunity from retribution. 
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  2. To get revenge - A person felt they were wronged and is looking for justice.
  3.  A prior lover or spurned suitor is looking to repay the pain they are feeling.
  4. Competitors are looking to hurt your reputation as a business.
  5. Mining for cell phone numbers of the affected profile and friends.
  6. A covert agency (like the police) creates an account to trap criminals.
  7. A covert agency (like the CIA) creates an account to discredit you.
  8. Monitoring status updates to track when someone is away from home.
  9. A person is stalking someone because they are obsessed with that person.
  10. They are used to create additional backlinks to “help” improve search ranking.
  11. Criminals use fake accounts to attack email list with virus-laden links.
  12. Fake accounts are created for sale to consumers looking to quickly grow their following. 
  13. Hackers create multiple fake Facebook profiles to use for access.
  14. Hackers create fake accounts to collect information for identity theft.
  15. Unscrupulous businesses create fake accounts for promotional spamming.
  16. Some people create fake accounts for testing purposes.
  17. People create multiple Facebook accounts to get more promotional offers. 
  18. Advertisers create fake accounts to display multiple ads on Facebook.

So how do you know if an account is fake or just some person trying to connect with others who they find interesting. The truth of the matter is - you have to do your due diligence because there is no easy way. A good article is listed in WikiHow that covers many aspects of what to look for.  Here is my due diligence checklist for you to use.

How do you Identify a Fake Facebook Account?
  1. Use Google images to search tool to find all of your profile images on the internet.
  2. Search a person's name online to see what photos and background info comes up.
  3. Look for inconsistencies - Look for the right location, age and other matching information that will help you identify them as the real profile you’re looking for.
  4. Look to see if they have been tagged by other friends in the pass.
  5. Look for a short or a lack of a timeline.
  6. Look for a minimal or incomplete profile.
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  7. Look to see how many friends they have.
  8. Do they make out of character declarations towards you when they don’t know you?
  9. Does your anti-virus/malware software flag them as untrustworthy?
  10. Are they from another country, only speak a foreign language or ask you to connect via email.
The number of fake social media accounts is increasing. Now that you know how to spot a fake Facebook account, you need to learn how to protect your reputation, so that this doesn’t happen to you in the near future. Here is my short list of things you can do to protect yourself and your reputation.

How do you protect yourself and your reputation?
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  • Don’t follow just anybody, connect with people you know.
  • Read your messages – delete any solicitations, people you have no connection too or just weird stuff. 
  • Block any request that has a creepy air to it. This blocks them from contacting you.
  • Decide on a probationary period for un-verified friend request. Ask friends to verify them. 
  • Do your due diligence and research potential friends on the net.
  • Don’t make everything in your profile accessible to all – just people close to you.
  • Be consistent with what and who you interact with.
  • Set up security settings in Facebook and in all your browsers.
  • Add anti-malware s/w to all of your devices - many have social media security built in.
  • Being vigilant - Do a personal search on your name regularly?

Fake Social Media Accounts are Everywhere

Facebook isn’t the only social network that has fake accounts. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, heck you name it, just about every social media network is littered with them. There are hundreds of millions of fake accounts that have been created for a variety of purposes, from trying to improve search ranking to outright malevolent crime. If you suspect yours or a friend's account has been faked, let them know immediately. If you sure your account has been duplicated contact Facebook right away and present them with your evidence. They will remove the account once they determine the facts in your favor. Here is the link to Report the fake account to Facebook.
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In this article I have provided in-depth information about why, and how fake Facebook accounts are created and used. I even cover my own story and provide information and links to many others. Also included are 18 reasons why people create fake Facebook accounts, a checklist of 10 ways you can spot a fake account, and my list of ways to protect yourself and your reputation from fake profiles. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

If you’d like to read more articles like this, check out: Are Trolls Taking Control of the Internet, Can Competitors Harm Your Business With Impunity Online?, What's in a name? Reputation Management in the Digital Age and The Endless Scams of Christmas (and beyond)You can also type “Facebook”, “Internet Security” or “fake accounts” in the search box at the top of this blog to find even more.

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If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, coworkers and associates.  If you have something to add related to this article or have a different opinion, place them in the Comments section below.  

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will give you immediate access to it. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business.  Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer on Ezine Online and is an active blogger (including ghostwriting).  He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above.  He’s also the co-author of the book, “Working the Web to Win,” which is now available on

Is Blogging For Business The Write Stuff?

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By Carl Weiss

Blogging is one of the best ways to promote any business.  Unlike a website, which rarely changes, blogs are dynamic, in that they can keep prospects and clients current with what’s happening in your business and your industry.  It can also elevate a business owner to the level of an authority figure.  More than mere words, blogs can be enhanced with the addition of multimedia elements such as photos, videos, and podcasts. Best of all, it costs little or nothing to employ, since blogging platforms like Blogger are free to use.  That being said, why isn’t every business on the planet taking advantage of all that blogging has to offer? Here are the top five excuses most businesses give, along with the antidote to those excuses.

1. Blogging is Hard

In order to succeed, you have to be willing, ready and able to post at least a blog a week to make this a viable marketing method.  The “every now and then, when I feel like it, I’ll get around to it,” crowd need not apply.  The other excuse most often used when it comes to the reason why a business owner is NOT blogging has to do with the fact that they believe they can’t come up with enough material to write a blog a week.  To these folks, I can only say that for the most part business owners and managers literally trip over ideas for blogs every day.  The problem is they forget to note them.  Think about it.  How many times during the course of the day do you have something noteworthy happen?  Ever heard a funny story about a client or service provider?  Ever had a customer or employee relate something about your business to you that brought a smile to your face, or made you say, “I didn’t know that?”  Sure you have.
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Even if you don’t have a single noteworthy event happen today, remember that all you are looking for is the kernel of a story that you can relate to an audience every week.  Plus, don’t forget that even if you come up dry, the very same medium you are using to read this blog is the greatest research tool on the planet.  I can’t tell you how many times I have found inspiration for a blog from a Newsfeed or someone else’s blog.  As long as you don’t infringe on the writer’s copyright by copying the material word for word, there is nothing wrong with getting an idea for your blog from other blogs.  You can even include the occasional pull quote, providing that you provide a credit and a link.  (If it’s good enough for the NY Times, it’s good enough for you.)

2. Business is Booming

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Here is the mother of all lame excuses for not blogging; Being too busy.  In the first place, unless your business has a yearly growth curve that would make Google green with envy, the very nature of business is peaks and valleys. In other words, if you are swamped right now, chances are you won’t be in a few months. 

Secondly, the time when your business is in overdrive is the best time to blog.  When you are on a winning streak, this is the time to write about your accomplishments, as well as getting happy customers to post reviews and testimonials, which can also be incorporated in your blogs.  This way, when your business hits the doldrums, as most do, you can use the audience you created with your blog to troll for new customers.  (The other solution when you are too busy with business to blog is to outsource the task to a professional writer.)

3. Business is Bad

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The opposite tack also holds true when it comes to making excuses to avoid blogging.  When business is bad, many business owners revert to trench warfare, as if defending the gates against the marauding hordes.  Therefore, they cut back their marketing expenses in an effort to staunch the flow of red ink.  The problem with this theory is that when business is bad you need to spend more on marketing, not less. (Is it any wonder that 66% of businesses go under in the first two years?)

If your business is circling the drain, this is the best time to blog.  Blogging can be one of the most cost-effective means of drumming up new business that has ever been created.  Unlike search engine marketing that can take months and/or cost thousands of dollars to generate results, since blogging relies on social nets instead of search engines (where pay-per-click ads are much cheaper), you can kill two birds with one stone by growing your social following to feed your blog audience.

4. I’ve Built It & Nobody Comes

This is what I refer to as the “Field of Dreams School of Marketing.”  Just as there are hundreds of millions of websites out there, when it comes to blogging, your blog is just another drop in the ocean.  Particularly if you don’t feed it regularly, or you post nothing but advertorials week in and week out.

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Rule number one in the blogosphere is that it’s not about you.  It’s about your audience.  That means that if every blog comes off sounding like an ad, you will drive your audience away.  That doesn’t mean that your blog can’t revolve around your business, it just means that you need to provide your readers with information that is interesting, relevant, timely and useful.  Then you can drop a baited hook to reel in the fish. 

The other side of the equation is distribution.  What it boils down to is you can have the greatest blog in the world, but if you don’t know how to get the word out, then all you really have is a billboard in the desert.  The cure for this is to use your social nets to distribute your blog.  Of course, if you only have a couple of hundred followers, this is not going to make your blog a bestseller overnight.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t some cost-effective ways to distribute your blog.  You just have to be willing to spend a buck to make a buck.

5.   I have an Audience & but Nobody Buys 

This conundrum is more common than most people think.  Even those with successful blogs sometimes have problems converting their audience into customers.  This is due in large part to the fact that most bloggers do not have an offer or unique proposition that has a high value in the minds of their readers.  Either that, or they have an offer, but choose to beat their readership to death with it.

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The problem with selling on a blog has to do with the fact that you need to develop a subtle way of getting your audience to take the next step.  By this, I mean that you can’t have ten ads running throughout the body of your blog or you will fail in your task to convert readers to customers.  The best way to mix ads with prose is to use the sidebar for the ads and the main body for your blog. 

To be successful, an ad needs to provide an irresistible offer and make it easy to take advantage of the offer.  If the reader has to work too hard to accept your offer they won’t do it.  If they have to click to another page and fill out a long form, forget about it. 

If you are having trouble with the conversion factor, I recommend you take a look at a third party app, such as Social Slam Dunk.  Not only can a third party app make your life easier when it comes to fishing for customers, but the best of these apps also provides you with feedback that lets you know how your offers are doing.  (Social Slam Dunk even offers several different ways to fish for clients, including online coupons, scratch-off contests, and customer rewards,)

When it comes to being a success at blogging for business, the real secret is to think long term.  Our Working the Web to Win Blog generates between 20,000 to 30,000 readers per month and recently crossed the 1-million-page view threshold.  This is after five years of posting at least one blog per week.  If you want to experience the same kind of success that we have achieved, be prepared to look at your blog as an indispensable part of your marketing mix that can enhance both your reputation and the bottom line.  Now that’s what I call the “Write Stuff!”

In this article, I have discussed why blogging should be an important part of any businesses online marketing strategy. I have covered the five top excuses that most businesses give to not blog and why these excuses don’t matter if you use the right techniques to get the job done. Either way, if a business implements the items discussed in this article, they will not only elevate their credibility but also their income as well.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 
Get your FREE copy today!
904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family, and co-workers. If you would like to learn more about this subject, visit the notes page on this blog for the BlogTalkRadio show dated 9/20/16. I recommend checking out "The Write Stuff – How to Blog & Make a Profit", "Marketing Your Blog in the 21st Century – Part 3 of Blogging 101", “The Magic Formula for Blogging Success: a Training Series for Bloggers“, or "Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned & Best Practices Part 4 – Content is King".  You can also search for other related articles by typing in “Blogging” in the search box top of this blog. Also, don't forget to plus us on Google+.  

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will give you immediate access to it. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Carl Weiss is president of a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida that routinely works with bloggers and other online marketers. 

16 Surefire Tips to Grow your Facebook Fan Base

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By Hector Cisneros

Ever wonder why all the media outlets ask you to follow them on Facebook?  Are you curious about how useful Facebook is as a marketing tool?  Are you wondering why you only have 115 new fans after a full year’s worth of work?  What happened?  Are you providing the wrong content?  Are you using the wrong posting schedule?  Are you engaging your audience in a useful way? In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore how to maximize the return on your Facebook marketing efforts. So read on and get ready to make your Facebook Fan page grow your business.

Understanding the SEO Paradigm Shift in Business

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By Hector Cisneros

Ever asked yourself the question, “What does Search Engine Optimization really mean? Does it mean the same thing it meant 5 or 10 years ago?” These are questions we are asked regularly. The answers to these questions is anything but straightforward. SEO has changed so much that it’s hardly recognizable.  Understanding their depth and implications is a whole other matter. In fact, creating a marketing plan based on most of the definitions you hear for SEO will almost certainly guarantee failure. In this issue of Working the Web, we are going to explain what the word SEO has come to really mean. We will explain it in depth and in layman’s terms so that business people can understand and use this knowledge to their benefit. So read on and get ready to receive the secrets of SEO marketing in the 21st Century.