Facecrooks is THE Social Media Watchdog for Facebook Scams
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shut down an alleged financial pyramid scheme that was being promoted on Facebook and Twitter this week. The alleged scam was run by Fleet Mutual Wealth and MWF Financial which combined did business as Mutual Wealth. According to the SEC, the business promised investors 2-3 percent returns every week by investing money into securities for only a few minutes at a time.
However, instead of making investments, the SEC says that the group moved investors’ money to offshore bank accounts for fake companies. It worked as a pyramid scheme because the group encouraged participants to sign up others in exchange for commissions and to promote the investment opportunity on Facebook.
“Mutual Wealth used Facebook and Twitter as well as a team of recruiters to spread a steady stream of lies that tricked investors out of their money,” said Gerald Hodgkins, an associate director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
Pyramid schemes work largely because people trust their friends when they present them with a financial investment opportunity. This is true whether it’s in person or over Facebook. However, it’s up to you to take a closer look at the investment and deem if it’s legit or not. As with most things, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and investment returns of 2-3 percent per week certainly qualify as too good to be true.
A 24-year-old English woman, Michelle Chapman, was recently sentenced to 20 months in prison after bullying herself on her own Facebook page. She created multiple fake accounts and posted crude, hostile remarks on her personal Facebook page, with the purpose of framing her mother and stepfather.
Chapman set up multiple profiles in the names of her family members, and sent herself many abusive messages over the course of a year, many of which, according to investigators, were of a “very unpleasant sexual nature.”
Several of Chapman’s extended family were interviewed by police, and her stepmother was even arrested and questioned in the case. However, police soon used cyber-forensic techniques to determine that all of the profiles had been created from Chapman’s home. From there, they soon unraveled the case, and now Chapman is set to serve a 20-month prison sentence for essentially trolling herself online.
As strange as this case is, it’s had real and harmful effects. The marriage between her father and stepmother deteriorated in the wake of the allegations, and several other relatives of Chapman’s had their lives disrupted by police.
“People have suffered a great deal of distress as a result of your wicked behavior,” the ruling judge in the case said.
An Israeli tech company has developed an app, FakeOff, which can help users detect fake Facebook profiles. The app builds a list of “suspects” for investigation, uses an algorithm to analyze their information, gets results of their fakery on a 1-10 score, and even scans a suspect’s profile to see if they’re using someone else’s photos.
“Recent statistics show that at least 10 per cent of about 1.35 billion Facebook users are not authentic. Besides, there are millions of users who create fake identities and appear as regular users,” said the app’s creator, Eliran Shachar. “Twenty-four per cent of investigations conducted in the app return as fake. A fake profile can be very complex and some of the fakes that we help the users find is only for their eyes so we can’t know the final result from the photo scan results, but the user easily can.”
With examples of stolen identities and imposter profiles seemingly popping up every day, technology like this could provide a valuable self-policing mechanism for Facebook users to identify fraudsters in their own midst. The app has been live for about two months and has about 15,000 users, so clearly people see a value in this kind of security and protection.We have not tested the application at this time.
Readers: is this an app that you would consider using? If you would use it, what would be your reasons for using it?