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Tips on how to spot a fake Facebook page

by TERRI DICKERSON
| August 27, 2020 1:00 AM

With more people relying on online options for communicating and keeping in touch, it’s no wonder that more Facebook pages are popping up constantly. But what if you get a friend request from someone you don’t know or don’t think you have ever met?

Most of us know by now to ignore these requests because they could be from potential scammers. But what if you have some old acquaintances still in your own account or are a business owner who is trying to determine if the request is from a real person who is legitimately trying to contact you?

Here are several tips to help spot a fake Facebook page:

-The page does not have a lot of posts;

-The few posts that are on the page are older with not a lot of recent activity; and

-There are only a few photos with several that repeat.

These types of accounts are built by the scammers to establish connections with legitimate friends so that their account looks authentic. Often the communication (if the scammer tries to contact you) will be short and vague such as “Hi” or “Hi there” with no real substance to it. Typically, the scammer will want your email address in order to correspond with you but resist providing it if you are suspicious.

Another thing you can do is search Google for the image from the page. Do this by right clicking on one of the pictures, choose copy and then go to the Google search bar and hit paste. See what pops up. If the image has been used before, the sites will pop up in the search. Some will even let you know that it is a scam.

If you receive a Facebook friend request and aren’t sure if this is from a legitimate person, see if the profile fits the criteria of a possible fake Facebook page. If so, do an image search and see what information you can find out about the pictures. Because scammers are lazy, images get used multiple times and eventually get flagged as a scam.

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BEWARE PHONY COVID TREATMENTS

Be watchful of websites that sell products claiming to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. The warnings include products such as zappers, virus-busting cards, sage, oregano and bay leaves. In an effort to protect consumers, the Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings to more than a dozen online sellers who claim that their products can cure COVID-19.

Once the FTC sends these letters out, the seller is required to notify the FTC of the specific actions they have taken to address the agency’s concerns. The FTC will then follow up with companies that fail to take corrective action. The FTC has reported that nearly all of the warning letters that have been sent to sellers have resulted in the companies ceasing to sell the questionable product or treatment and have discontinued making false claims.

If you want to learn more about scams relating to COVID-19, visit www.ftc.gov/coronavirus and check out consumer alerts from the FTC. If you find a product that claims to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19, report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

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STATE PARK PASS RENEWALS

A Press reader recently visited Farragut State Park and asked me to pass along some information he received from the volunteer who checked his entry pass. The volunteer’s advice was to renew your plates and parks sticker as early as possible, as he has heard of delays in the issue of the parks stickers (an annual sticker for each car that for $10 allows you free entry to all Idaho State Parks) due to Covid-19.

The volunteer also advised if you renewed your vehicle registration but have not received your parks sticker, you will still be able to enter the park after you show your registration, which will show you paid a higher amount to cover the sticker. Personally, I would also expect that with all of us affected by Covid-19 in some way there might be more latitude given, overlooking something recently expired, but still it is a good idea to renew as early as possible.

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Remember: I’m on your side.

If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at terridickersonadvocate@gmail.com or call me at 208-274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, I’m here to help. I’m a copywriter working with businesses on marketing strategy, a columnist, a veterans' advocate and a consumer advocate living in Coeur d’Alene.