Apparently there is a new scam happening on Facebook that you may not have noticed yet, but affects small businesses and entrepreneurs.
I discovered the new scam happening on Facebook like this: I got a notification suggesting I add a friend who was my coworker at… my business. I am a Sole Proprietor, so how can this be? I guarantee there is no Bryan Conner working for my company…
The first thing I did was take a screen shot.
The second thing I did was attempt to report him – however, this is where it gets tricky. Facebook gives you about 6 options to report a profile. He’s not impersonating me or someone I know. He’s annoying me, but Facebook doesn’t allow me to explain how. I’m not sure if it’s a fake account or not. I don’t know if he’s using a different name he uses in everyday life, and I don’t know if he’s underage.
The last available option is “This profile represents a business or organization”. I clicked that, however there is no option to explain what is going on – which is that this individual is pretending to be an employee of my SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP.
The third thing I did was to ask about this on a Facebook group of Virtual Assistants. Another VA kindly forwarded this link to me from Facebook which basically says, “You can’t do a durned thing about it.” However, within that “business help” I am able to leave feedback to the developers. I then explained what was going on, with a link to the offenders profile page. I’ll update if Facebook responds on this.
What else can I do? The individual is not currently showing up as a Team Member on my Facebook Business Page. I can’t ban him, because he has never “liked” my page. He publicly posted his start date on his Facebook page. I publicly called him out on it via a comment. I can block him from my personal Facebook page, which I did.
As to why someone would do this, one VA commented that individuals are doing this to obtain credit or a visa. There were a couple of other VAs that this has happened to. The Facebook users that are doing this have a tendency to be from the Philippines or South Asian countries.
While not devastating to the operation of my business, it is annoying because Mr. Shirtless Wonder is affecting my brand. And Facebook is not being diligent about responding to “fake news”, at least not as far as it affects my business.
If you are a small business owner, you may want to click on your business link from time to time so that you are aware if someone is doing the same thing to you. As far as I can tell, he has no access to my business page other than the link on his profile.
Edited to add: Facebook responded over the weekend and basically said, “Thanks for contacting us but there’s nothing we can do. You can block Bryan if you like.” Then they give you the 5 emoticons to rate their response. I gave them the mad face. At the very least they then offer you an opportunity to explain your dissatisfaction with their response and I was able to vent in more detail. Facebook needs to figure out a better way of handling this, because it is basically turning a blind eye to fraud.