Anatomy of a Facebook fraud

You know how much I enjoy calling out Facebook fakes. Here’s one recently shared by a friend that turned up in my feed.


If you’re not familiar with the Ellen DeGeneres show, she is very well known for handing out money and prizes to folks who appear on her show. I can see why, at first glance, you might think this could be real. But only at first glance.  Let’s take a closer look. I’m fairly sure Ellen DeGeneres’ social media team know how to spell her name. And I can guarantee you that no legitimate post begins with the words, “Warning All! this is not fraud.” Real contests are seldom based on likes or shares.  The grammar and syntax are atrocious. English is clearly not the first language of the person who wrote this.


Let’s take a closer look at the page for this account. While the graphics look like they could be from Ellen’s show, the rest of the page is not. (though if you look closely, you can see 4 News and part of the logo for Les Miserables behind the photo of Ellen. The scammers appear to have stolen this from a TV station somewhere that was giving away tickets to Les Miserables.)  Ellen is spelled not one, not two, but THREE different ways on the page. DeGeneres gets two unique spellings. Also, note the “Real Account” logo. That’s not how Facebook verifies an account.


A legitimate celebrity account will have this big blue checkmark right next to the name.


Here’s what this scam is really about. If you look on the page, there are several links displayed where you can allegedly register for this fabulous giveaway. These links will take you to sites that can load up your PC or phone with malware and spyware.  Your device could end up as a doorstop. So could the devices of everyone you shared it with. Also, since you and the people you shared it with are now following the page, they might post even more malicious links.


If you plan on sharing things with your friends, you have an obligation to check them out beforehand. You should look at everything skeptically for your own protection as well. Part of what these crooks count on is that you’ll be viewing on a phone and not looking at the smaller screen too closely before you share.

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