Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is a noted advocate for consumers, taking a strong stand against scams and falsely-advertised products. It was unfortunately ironic, then, when she recently became the subject of a phony Facebook profile scam.
The fake Sen. McCaskill Facebook page looked close to the real thing, featuring an official picture of her and a post asking for grant money applicants. That call for grant applicants is how the scam was first revealed in June; a woman was convinced by the fake profile to send two payments of $250 with the promise of grant funding from the senator to follow. However, when the grants never came, the woman complained to McCaskill’s office. The senator’s team then notified Facebook, the FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police, and told constituents and fans about the fake profile to prevent other victims from falling for it.
For its part, Facebook said it regularly monitors the site for frauds like this one.
“We have a dedicated team that’s tasked with helping to detect and block these kinds of accounts,” Facebook official Jodi Seth told USA Today. “Our team is currently developing a tool to send people an alert when we discover multiple accounts with the same profile photo and name. The person receiving the alert has the option to report the account as an impersonating account. In the meantime, if people notice a fake profile on Facebook, they can still report it to our team for investigation.”
As always, it’s a wise idea to not trust unverified accounts claiming to represent notable people – especially when those accounts ask for money or personal information.