In another twist on the well-trod famous photographer scam, a new variation has scammers impersonating famous photographers contacting would-be clients/marks via instant messaging services.
Peta Pixel tells us the story of Dallas, Texas-based photographer Bree Adams who happened to be friends with world-famous photographer Mary Fisk-Taylor.
A luminary and educator in the field of photography, Mary Fisk-Taylor is based in Richmond, Virginia and Bree Adams claims to have met her – if only briefly – at an event long ago. The two eventually became Facebook friends and that’s where someone became inspired to impersonate Mary Fisk-Taylor’s account to lure her friends into a government grant scam.
Basically how the scam works is that someone finds a profile on Facebook, somehow impersonates that person by either creating a sock puppet account or what have you, then tries to lure the impersonated person’s friends into divulging their personal information to a third party.
The person giving their personal information out over instant messaging is doing so in hopes of receiving some vague, omnibus grant from the government (which doesn’t exist, natch) but in reality, they’re about to get all of the person's personal details stolen for who knows what use.
Typically something that will alert a user to this being in progress is receiving a message from a “friend” on Facebook messenger but having to allow the person, who you typically aren’t actually friends with, to contact you on that service. The profile will try to add you as a friend as well and you may admit the request, thinking you had accidentally deleted a friend or something along those lines.
But if you do some digging you’ll notice that you have two friends with the same name and typically the same profile picture. Basically, in short, don’t accept messages from people that aren’t your friends on Facebook and don’t add people you think are already your friend without doing some investigation first.
Facebook for its part hopes to test some new features in the future that will alert users that the person users are communicating with might not be the person a user thinks.