According to a report in the Houston Press this week, someone has created over 60 Facebook pages for fake Houston-area restaurants — and it’s unclear what they’re doing with them.
The addresses of real restaurants are being used for the fake pages, as are images from restaurants all over the country. Most of the fake places have names that capitalize on current trends or dishes, like Poke Fresh, Bop’s Gelato and Ant’s Acai Bowl. Many users have expressed interest in eating at the fake restaurants on these pages, though some dedicated users have posted diligently, warning about the scam.
However, it’s still unclear why exactly the scammer or scammers have done this. The Houston Press speculated that the pages are collecting “likes” to later spam users with fraudulent ads. Meanwhile, one of the paper’s readers put forward the theory that the cyber-imposters are really just collecting user data.
“What they’re doing is gaining access to all the Facebook users who ‘like’ the fake restaurant pages,” the reader wrote. “This gives access, in many cases, to those users’ friend lists, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. All stuff that can be sold. Also, pictures and account names can be used to make spoof accounts to further data-mine users. They’re counting on people who don’t have their Facebook account security locked down.”
Whatever the case, be careful what pages you like on Facebook — and be sure to verify the authenticity of any place asking for your money or trying to get you to go there in person.