Facebook removes more bot and fake user accounts each quarter than the whole population of the USA. In fact, Facebook removes BILLIONS of bots and fake accounts each quarter. More than 15 fake accounts for every American citizen. According to the big data firm Statista, 16% of all Facebook users and accounts are FAKE.
That’s right. That’s more than 1 person in every random mix of 10 strangers in your groups. Does your group have 40,000 accounts? Then statistically, it has over 6,400 scammers, bots, or fake accounts.
Why does Facebook let this happen?
You must remember, Facebook is not a new company. The Facebook platform has been around for decades. Think about the technology you were using 20 years ago. CD players and flip-phones. Facebook was around when AOL was still giving away free CDs. There’s a reason we don’t use those anymore: technology has improved. But Facebook is a software. There’s not a lot of the original Facebook code still left in the platform: but it is like an old house. The stuff that was brand new and shiny 20 years ago is pretty old, slow, and outdated. To be cost effective, usually Facebook just patches issues rather than re-writing the whole platform. So, Facebook has what a lot of people call “spaghetti code”. It’s full of holes and loose ends.
Another thing that’s important is that bots and fake users actually use Facebook. They click posts, write messages, and make friends. And this is activity. Proof that things are happening on Facebook. When Facebook releases quarterly reports to stockholders and investors, they show pictures of ALL their traffic. Even bot and fake traffic gets their numbers up, so they kind of turn a little bit of a blind eye to this problem.
Why are there so many bots and fake accounts?
Money. Money is always the answer. Some of these bots and fake accounts are fairly harmless. They are run by marketing businesses who make their money charging businesses monthly fees to promote their content. So they automate that work by creating fake accounts that just share lots of articles and content and funny pictures.
But there are harmful fake accounts, and their eye is on the dollar sign.
Bot farms exist in places like Saudi Arabia, Korea, Russia, China, and other places where technological policing is less common or less enforced. These bot farms hire dozens of people to generate, and then copy, and then modify, and then copy again, hundreds and thousands of bots. Sometimes these bots are just trying to get personal information. With this personal information, names, emails, work emails, sometimes
they send batches of phishing attempts. Sometimes they try to open up credit cards using the data they scrape. Sometimes they clone real business pages, have people wire money, and just delete the pages once they get their payday. At the end of the day, as long as people continue to fall for these scams, and as long as platforms like Facebook have holes and loose ends, the scammers will keep happening. Think about 10 years ago, those old Nigerian prince emails, asking people to wire money. We laugh about it now, but back in those days, people, real people, fell for those scams. They only stopped happening when enough people knew what they were that it was no longer profitable for the scammer to run them.
What can you do to protect yourself and your money and your identity?
The first thing you should do is look at the information on your facebook profile. Facebook isn’t LinkedIn, remove some work details, work emails, and your public address. Make it so that only friends and family can see your full profile. The second thing you can do is tell yourself that it is okay to ask questions in public spheres. It is okay to ask questions of the Facebook business groups you belong to.
Before you do business with a company, ask who else has done business with them. How old are their Facebook accounts? Is it a personal account that’s only been open 32 weeks? It’s probably a scam. Is it a business page that’s only been around for 4 months? It’s probably a scam.
But it isn’t always. There are new businesses. There are people who create new Facebook profiles just to make it easier to share things for their businesses. If they are real, then someone has done business with them before. I cannot emphasize this enough. Find at least 3 people who have done business with a company in your group, in your circles, and ask if you can call them to ask how it went. Liquidation and wholesale scammers cannot supply real people to pose as former customers that you can call. Make this your new benchmark. Do business with businesses that people will be willing to hear your voice and have a real interaction about.
You can guard yourself, and help make liquidation Facebook scams a thing of the past… by telling other people how to not be a target, and how to spot scams. So I will make a very fast and loose checklist.
1) Check the age of the FB account / Business page. Younger pages should have you more suspicious.
2) If you see a seller who has something you want, ask around about them. Try to get three totally different people on the phone to tell you their experience.
3) IGNORE Facebook star ratings. Those can be bought and sold. Instead, GOOGLE THE BUSINESS you want to buy from. And then google the business name and reviews. Like “SCD Liquidation Reviews”. Ignore Google reviews: those can be bought and paid for. Look for Yelp reviews, look for BBB reviews, look for reputable third party website reviews that moderate discussion and will hold the seller accountable.
4) If you have a good experience with a seller, leave reviews! Tell other people about it! We like to keep our sources secret in this industry, but your seller will probably be able to do cheaper prices and better business if they do more business. Whenever you do business with someone new, leave a review IN YOUR GROUPS and recommend them, say what state/city they are in so other people can search it.
Some links for further reading