Because of its simplicity and cost-free use, Facebook is fertile ground for scammers and con artists. However, Facebook typically provides users with methods to defend themselves or report an issue if they fall victim to a scam. But occasionally, a flaw in the system allows cybercriminals to take advantage of innocent users without consequence. One such loophole was revealed this week when it was reported that there’s no way for users to report fake Messenger accounts.
The flaw is startlingly easy to exploit. Here’s how it works: Anyone can create a Messenger account using only a mobile phone number. But to report a fake account, users need to do so from the account itself. And since you don’t need a Facebook profile to create a Messenger account, there’s no way to flag these fakes.
Thankfully, Facebook is aware of the problem and says it’s working on a fix. As it stands, all you can do is report individual messages from a spam account, though there is no option to report it as an impersonation.
Experts warn to be careful of any strange account that tries to connect with you on Facebook. There’s a pretty good chance whoever’s behind it doesn’t have the best intentions.
“These people are ruthless,” fraud advice specialist Tony Neate told the Telegraph. “They couldn’t care less who their victims are. They use the face of someone you know and trust to try to deceive you.”