A prominent nonprofit supporter in Colorado Springs, Colorado, fell victim to a common Facebook scam recently when she discovered that a cybercriminal had stolen her profile picture and used it to create a fake profile in her name.
Vicki Dimond, an editor at Colorado Springs Style Magazine, discovered that a profile impostor had been set up with the name “Vicki Dimond Dimond.” The scammer then tried to friend her 2,000 actual Facebook friends, and requesting money to “help a friend’s son with medical bills.” The fake account even sent pornographic images to her friends.
“You feel violated, but you also feel very concerned that someone would solicit funds inappropriately and fraudulently using your name,” said Dimond. “We are very, very blessed with phenomenal non-profits within this market, and they solicit funds professionally and not in this manner, and to see something like this that could potentially reflect on the non-profit community angers me.”
Thankfully, there are several easy ways to avoid falling prey to scams like this. First, check your profile settings and make sure you’re only sharing photos with people you trust—in other words, don’t post your pictures publicly. If you want to take an additional security step, experts also recommend resizing your profile pictures to a smaller file size. This makes it less tempting for crooks to steal your pics, as they probably won’t be able to download and use the smaller images. The safest bet is not to use a personal picture for your profile or cover photo.