AUGLAIZE COUNTY — The Auglaize County Sheriff’s office was made aware of a Facebook post via the “Auglaize County homes/Apartments for rent/sale” group warning residents of dangerous individuals attacking someone with a knife. The two individuals pictured in the post were taken off of the United Kingdom’s most wanted website from 2014.
This post, originating from Brian Brizzo-South Africa, is completely fictitious and is a prime example of “Like Farming.” Like-farming on Facebook is a technique in which scammers create an eye-catching post designed to get many likes and shares. Posts often give people emotional reasons to click, like, and share, such as adorable animals, sick children, the promise to win big, or political messages.
Although many people have good intentions with sharing Facebook posts, in many cases it is a tactic for scammers to exploit you and your friends.
The Better Business Bureau website reports that as with many scams, like-farming has several different aims. When scammers ask someone to “register” in order to win something or claim an offer, this is a way to steal personal information.
Other versions can be more complex. Often, the post itself is initially harmless — albeit completely fictional. But when the scammer collects enough likes and shares, they will edit the post and could add something malicious, such as a link to a website that downloads malware to someone’s device.
Other times, once scammers reach their target number of likes, they strip the page’s original content and use it to promote spammy products. They may also resell the page on the black market. These buyers can use it to spam followers or harvest the information Facebook provides.
The posts often include a time limit. This is so you don’t take the time to think it through, and it gives you a sense of urgency.
People are asked to use the tools Facebook provides to report fictitious accounts and posts.