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Learn how to spot fake friend and celebrity social media accounts and keep your info away from scammers.

Making friends as an adult is hard. It’s even tougher when fraudsters create spoof friend accounts on social media. Learn how to spot fake friend and celebrity social media accounts and keep your info away from scammers.

The Scams

  1. Wanna be my friend, again? If you just got a friend request from someone you are already friends with, chances are it’s not really your friend. Fraudsters create fake social media accounts using photos from real profiles (scary, right?) and send you friend requests. What they do next varies. Some send sad stories asking for money, while others send links to videos you’re supposedly in to get you to click the link so they can infect your computer with malware.
  2. Woo hoo! I’m Facebook friends with a celebrity… I think. Scammers pose as celebrities and send friend requests, which are usually quickly followed by a message asking for money for their favorite charity. In other cases, official-looking stories and links make the rounds on social media and ask for donations to non-existent charities or say that you’ve won a prize but need to send money to claim it.

What you can do

Here are a few tips to help you spot a fake friend request and keep yourself—and your wallet—safe.

  1. Only accept friend requests from people you know. The old adage, “Don’t talk to strangers” holds true in this case. While we’re all for being friendly, make sure you know the person before you accept the request. Accepting friend requests from strangers can increase the risk of scammers spoofing YOUR profile, collecting personal information to gain access to online accounts (like your mother’s maiden name, a common verification question used for resetting passwords), etc.
  2. Clean up the ‘About Me’ section. Just like you wouldn’t hand over your bank account number or Social Security card to a stranger, don’t make personal information easy to access. Carefully consider what scammers can do with data like your birthday, details about where you live, and more. Fraudsters are great at putting together facts that can help them crack into your accounts.
  3. Facebook creeping is advised. Go ahead, do a little research and check out the profile you just received a request from—especially if it’s someone you’re already friends with. If the profile has very few posts, photos or other friends, there’s a good chance it’s not a real account. Call, text or email your friend to let them know, then follow these steps to report the account.
  4. Don’t click that link. Tempting as it may be, someone sending you a link to a YouTube video may be a phishing scam. The link usually prompts you to login again (which is how the fraudster steals your information) and then downloads malware onto your device.

How Verve can help

We’re always watching for scams and will take immediate action if we catch fraudulent activity. If you think you have been a victim of a scam, call us at 800.448.9228, and a team member can help you address any concerns.

It’s Verve’s goal—in line with our seven guiding Cooperative Principles—to provide education, training and information to help our members avoid financial scams and stay financially fit. Verve is committed to keeping our members educated when it comes to their finances by providing details on recent scams and ways to stay safe. Help keep your family and friends safe online by sharing this information on social media scams.