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Facebook scam targets local restaurant’s social media followers

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY (WSIL) -- A local restaurant is warning their social media followers of a fake Facebook page preying on un-suspecting customers.

Joe's Pizza in Herrin say users believe they are visiting their restaurant's page, but instead are connecting to a scam, which could cost them big bucks.

"It's a little bit of a nuisance," explains Manager Caleb Kearney. "Because we do have a pretty active Facebook page; we do a lot of giveaway's ourselves and when somebody's being sort of, imposturous like that, it kind of hurts our credibility a little bit."

Kearney says when they learned somebody was cloning their Facebook page, their primary concern was the safety of their customers.

The fake page is trying to obtain personal information, even asking for credit card details, and is just one example of an ever-increasing number of social media scams that the Federal Trade Commission says, has doubled in the past year.

News 3 spoke with digital marketing experts who say, users need to remain vigilant while online.

"If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is," explains Kevin Hunsperger, Digital Marketing Manager with Idea Creative in Carbondale. "Don't give out your credit card information, don't give out your social security number, address --anything personal like that, you do not want to put out on social media."

He says pay attention to details like the spelling of the businesses' names, the page-creation date and the number of followers they have.

"If it's a local business especially, 'Are your other Facebook friends following this page?' because, that's another telltale sign that maybe this isn't on the up-and-up," says Hunsperger.

It can take some time for social media platforms to remove fake pages, says Hunsperger, adding that before providing personal details to a site, do your homework and ensure it's the "real deal."

"Unfortunately there are people out there that just want to take your money and take advantage of you," Hunsperger says. "Don't fall victim to that."

Joe's Pizza is asking customers to report the fake page to Facebook if it pops up in their browser, reminding them they do not ask for personal information through Messenger.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, social media scams topping the list in 2020 include online shopping, romance, and fraudulent economic relief or income opportunities.

Joe Rehana

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