Chairman of Kilkenny’s Animal Welfare Committee, Councillor Andrew McGuinness, is warning people about a heart wrenching scam targeting animal lovers on Facebook.
The scam is being posted by fake Facebook profiles in various online market places including many legitimate animal welfare and rehoming groups throughout the country.
Speaking to The Kilkenny People, Cllr Andrew McGuinness said:
“The scam begins with fake posts about injured or missing dogs, taking advantage of animal lovers, urging them to share it on their page to their friends. After it’s been shared many times, the scammer then edits the post to include a malicious link or service in a bid to steal money or personal information.”
“These scammers, often located in different countries, use emotion and urgency to compel users to share their post. They always create new profiles once their old profiles get banned by Facebook.
“It’s sad to see this happening as it can scare people away from responding to genuine posts about missing pets or animals that need to be rehomed,” he said.
“Not only is the scam a danger to genuine animal lovers who want to help find or rehome a dog, it’s a huge issue for the many hard working, mainly voluntary, organisations and individuals who do their best every day to help animals in need,” said Cllr. McGuinness.
According to Cllr McGuinness, there are many red flags that can help people to identify a scam post. These red flags are similar to the property rental scam that has also been an issue in Kilkenny recently.
“Users can verify the post by looking at the original poster’s profile. If it was created recently, it’s likely fake. Spelling errors and strange details in the picture can also reveal red flags along with a lack of friends or posts,” said Cllr McGuinness.
He continued with the following pointers to help people identify scam posts -Do a bit of digging before resharing a post on your profile. Read the information carefully and look at the profile of the person who created and shared the original post. If the profile is from Florida but shared the post in a Canadian group, it may be a red flag of a bait-and-switch publication.
– Find out when the poster created the Facebook profile. Scammers always create profiles when their old one gets banned. If you click on their profile, it will tell you how long they have been a member of the group. You can also find additional information on their public profile.
– Do a reverse image search on Google. That will allow you to find out if the pictures you saw were used on other ads or websites in different cities.
– Find similar posts. Copy and paste the text from the post into Facebook’s search tool to see if other posts with the same text and different pictures show up.
– If you suspect a post is a scam, report it immediately to Facebook.
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