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A family member of mine called my attention to a Facebook profile with data significantly resembling mine:

  • Matching first and last name

  • Matching city

  • Matching secondary school

  • Matching university

  • Different workplace (although same industry)

  • 4 profile photos showing someone else (safe-for-work but a bit dating-site-style photos)

The profile dates back to 2019, has about a dozen generic posts (most of them with 20-30 likes) and a single comment from another user (whose profile also dates back to 2019).

I am not a journalist, politician or any other high-profile person. I live in a relatively large city, but the rest of the matching data can hardly be a coincidence. I have a rare name, I only know of 3 people worldwide with the same name, and we all have widely different occupations, education history and place of living.

I would like to know:

  • What may be the intentions of the creators of the fake profile?

  • What actions should I take?

What I have done so far

  • I saved a copy of the fake profile page and photos in case in the future they take them down but I need to present them as evidence for any reason.

  • I reactivated my Facebook account (that I previously deactivated several years ago) to make sure I still have access to it and thereby exclude the possibility that it was taken over and repurposed as the fake profile. While being there, I set a new password and added a second-factor auth (it was not an option back then), then deactivated the account again.

  • I removed my profile photos from various web sites to make it a little harder to find a photo of me which could be misused on the fake profile, making it even more convincing.

  • I did a reverse image search of the fake profile picture on the internet. I found a profile on vk.com with the same image but a different name and even different nationality. This could be a fake profile as well or a real profile with the original source of the images (although the person's age does not seem to match the photos, so probably fake as well). I saved this too.

  • I reported the fake profile to Facebook as "pretending to be me". I got the answer "we reviewed the profile you reported and found that it doesn't go against our Community Standards."

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  • Which country are you in (for the purposes of this question)? The answer to your question would heavily depend upon the jurisdiction applicable to you. But in general, such tactics could be used to attract the interest of law enforcement officials towards you (by your enemies/competitors). I'll answer in detail after your response.(I encountered similar cases in during the course of my duty in Law Enforcement in the past).
    – TechLord
    Dec 19, 2020 at 5:03
  • I live in the Eastern part of the EU. I am a peaceable person, avoiding conflicts, I can not imagine having enemies or competitors. Dec 19, 2020 at 9:33

1 Answer 1

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One reason scammers may do this is to gain trust with and get close to other people so they can then scam then. Once the scammer is trusted, people who know you are more likely to divulge their own information to them, or more trivially, click on links that they think you are sending to them. There's probably a lot of other things they could try to use the identity for, but it would just be speculation to guess further.

If this is the case, your course of action should be to simply report the profile as fake to Facebook, and possibly encourage others to do the same, as more reports will make it more likely to come under investigation.

Alternatively, it could really be a coincidence. Even if you have a rare name, it's possible that you don't know everyone else with the same name.

Things like this could almost justify keeping a real placeholder Facebook account active but with privacy settings maxed out, so at least your friends know which is your real profile.

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