Facebook radio scams: The personal toll | #socialmedia


It’s ongoing and it’s relentless.

Radio personalities have opened up about the heavy personal toll Facebook scams are taking on their lives, and how – in many cases – they feel powerless to stop it.

Lucy Holmes – Breakfast host at Melbourne’s 89.9TheLight – has found herself a regular target of Facebook scammers, and says it’s heartbreaking, frustrating … and downright exhausting.

Lucy tells Radio Today she’s been left in tears over it:

“It’s been devastating to me and is a constant source of stress in my life. I’ve had over 15 different scam pages set up over the last couple of months alone, and we’ve had to hire an outside company to assist us in removing these pages.”

“The scammers start a page that steals all my photos and looks completely like me, then they head to the radio station Facebook page and contact listeners by commenting on posts from years ago.”

“The listeners are so trusting of me as a personality, that they assume they’ve won a prize from me. They click though and give all their details, and then I get inundated with messages every day from distressed listeners who’ve fallen for it. Even if I deleted all my social accounts, the scammers would still set up fake accounts pretending to be me.”

Lucy has found Facebook unhelpful, and that’s putting it mildly:

“There is no one you can talk to, no number to call. Even when listeners report the fake pages as impersonating me, we get an automated response saying Facebook doesn’t believe the page is fake.”

“I tried to get blue tick verified so that people know which page to trust, but I wasn’t approved for verification. Right now there is a fake page up that we’ve been trying to have removed for a week, and I am getting nowhere. It’s absolutely distressing.”

Lucy says when she does manage to get one of these pages taken down, another one pops up.

Triple M Cairns Breakfast host Jason Bodger can certainly relate. The fake profiles are wearing very thin on him too.

He tells Radio Today that at first, it was kind of flattering:

“They’d picked some of my nicer pics and it looked like a lot of work had gone into creating the fake promotions.”

“Very quickly that flippant view changed. I started getting messages from the listeners of our show (and it’s a very new show) who were excited that they had won and were even sending me their bank details.”

“Having to then explain to them, as gently as I could, that they’d been scammed was incredibly confronting.”

“After a while, people would message my page and our Triple M Cairns page angry that we weren’t taking the pages down, as if we had control over the situation.”

Ironically, Jason says Facebook recently banned him from commenting on one of his favourite fan pages, for a remark that Facebook’s AI incorrectly flagged as inappropriate.

“It took me weeks of petitioning before that decision was turned over. While this was happening, I was simultaneously begging Facebook to take down these fake profiles. We asked our listeners to report the pages, I registered at least 30 reports myself, and the response was always that no rules had been broken by these scammers.”

“The most frustrating part of it all, is now I’ve been blocked by the very pages who are pretending to be me, but I’m still getting angry messages from people who think I’m at fault for the continual presence of these pages.”

“I think a lot of announcers are at a loss for what to do. There seems to be no real course of action to take that will lead to the deletion of the pages.”

Sunshine Coast stations 92.7 MIX FM and 91.9 SEA FM have also been hit. The station’s Social Media Specialist Lachy Pugsley recently told our sister publication RadioInfo “Over the past month and a half, we’ve had a total of eight fake profiles that are pretending to be our announcers from both 92.7 MIX FM and 91.9 SEA FM.

Toni Tenaglia – afternoon announcer on Melbourne’s Gold 104.3 – also recently shared with Radio Today her experience of being targeted by Facebook scammers.

She says it’s hard to offer advice for people who find themselves in similar situations, because the system put in place to deal with these types of accounts isn’t working.

“I’m at a loss as to what to suggest, to be honest. I just hope you have a great digital team who has the contacts within Facebook to deal with the matter for you.”





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