Our 27th year of publishing

Published June 8, 2021

Some cat-hating Facebook crook stole my identity

By John Toth / The Bulletin

As soon as I stepped into my office and turned on my computer, I saw that something was wrong. Something tipped me off - maybe it was a bunch of messages I received from friends saying: “You have been hacked.”

A perfect end to a long day, I thought sarcastically. Why would anyone want to hack my Facebook account?

I'm such a nice guy on Facebook that I even surprise myself. I don’t post anything political. I know that many people do, but I think that Mark’s original intent with Facebook was to find a date, not to debate politics and make enemies.

That’s Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook, which made him a billionaire at age 23. He wrote the original code, according to the movie, after he borrowed the idea from a couple of rich college kids who liked to row competitively. “Social Network” is a great movie. I still watch it about once a year.

Mark wanted a date, but for most of us who are married, that function of Facebook is of no use. Instead, we post vacation photos, pictures of food and photos and videos of our family and pets.

Wait, maybe someone who doesn’t like cats hacked my site and assumed my identity while asking my friends, who are already friends, to be my friends.

I may have been overdoing it some. The kittens are doing a lot of funny and cute stuff, and I happen to have my phone around to digitize their actions. Maybe after this fake person who hates cats grabbed my Facebook friends, he planned to subject them to photos without cats.

So, if you accepted a friend request from John Toth with no picture and are now getting photos of rain, earthquakes and political memes, that’s not me. Defriend that friend immediately because he is not a friend. I am the friend with a photo of my dashing self in my profile and cat and family pictures in my news thread.

Why would anyone do something like that? I turned to the Internet machine and found the answer on ricksdailytips.com. That name sounds like a bookie betting sheet, but it is actually a very useful site on how to handle these types of scams.

“Scammers are making virtual copies of real Facebook accounts by copying the photos and info from the real account’s ‘About’ page to the fake ones. They then send friend requests to the friends listed on the real account.

“Once the scammer has several of the original account holder’s friends on the fake account’s friends list, there are countless ways those people can be scammed because, well, we tend to trust our friends, right?”

Rick reminds me a lot of myself. We both started out in the field of electronics. He studied radio and TV repair and then switched to computers. I started in electrical engineering and switched to writing, so our paths deviate a little.

Rick suggests that you message your friend from the account on which they are already friends with you and ask if the friend request is legit. “Even better, call them on the phone or visit them in person and ask.”
I don’t know about calling or visiting. That seems extreme.

“If the new account turns out to be fake (and it probably will), you can report it to Facebook so they can delete it.”

Rick then listed the steps to follow to report a fake account. I have learned from personal experience that reporting anything to Facebook is not as easy as it sounds. But if you go to his website, the steps are outlined there.

Thank you to all my friends who sent me alerts. I thought that something like this would never happen to me. It shows that none of us are safe from such exploitation.

While I try to figure out how to report this cat-hating imposter, enjoy some more pictures of the family and kittens. I just posted some.

Back off, fakester. This is not for you.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)