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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

If You Manage a School Facebook Page, Watch Out for This Scam

I manage a handful of Facebook Pages. This morning when I logged into Facebook I had notifications that "Verified Facebook Page" had requested administrative access to those pages. This seemed phishy to me and so rather than just clicking "accept" I stopped and thought about it then did a little research before ultimately determining that it was a phishing attempt that would have given complete control of my Facebook pages to a stranger if I hadn't caught it first. Here's how the scam works and how I figured it out.

How the "Verified Facebook Page" Scam Works

  • Someone creates a Facebook account that he/she calls "Verified Facebook Page" or something similarly named to make you think that Facebook is actually reaching out to you.
  • Said person then sends requests to you as the owner/administrator of your Facebook Page asking for administrative access. 
    • If you grant administrative access to the fake "Verified Facebook Page" account, the owner of that fake account then goes in and changes the settings, content, and will attempt to lock you out of the page that you own. 

How I Detected the "Verified Facebook Page" Scam

  • Since I had previously done some research on the process of getting the little blue verified checkmark that you see on pages verified by Facebook, I knew that the pages I manage are not eligible for the verified status (the reasons why are a point of contention, but that's a topic for another day).
  • I also know from experience of managing pages for many years, Facebook doesn't just send a request without an explanation in the form of a FB inbox message, an email, a phone call, or all three in some cases. (Phone calls are rare and you shouldn't expect one unless you have hundreds of thousands of followers or you spend a lot of money on Facebook advertising).
  • I know that Facebook doesn't need to request access to a page if they want to do anything to it. They can suspend any page at any time for policy violations or to simply respond to suspected account security breach.
  • I did a quick Google search for "Verified Facebook Page Scam" and found plenty of examples of page administrators getting locked out of their pages after approving administrative access for "Verified Facebook Page."
The Bottom Line for Administrators of School Facebook Pages
  • If you get a request for administrative access to your Facebook page when you weren't expecting one and or from someone you don't recognize, deny the request and report it to Facebook as suspicious activity. 
    • If someone who actually works for Facebook is trying to contact you, it won't be through a simple request without an explanation.