Jeff Turner – Music Reporter
Southern Gospel artists are not immune to imposters who set up Facebook pages. It recently happened to the Hoppers who said in a post (on their real Facebook page) that they have been receiving messages from fans reporting the phony pages.
It’s important to know the real addresses of your favorite group’s social media sites so you don’t fall prey to hucksters who hijack someone else’s good name for nefarious use. Some imposters ask for cash. Some ask personal questions to get information they can use for identity fraud. There are many reasons why you should be on guard against scammers who stoop to this.
Look to see if a page is verified. A blue checkmark should appear next to the name of the individual (or Gospel group) if Facebook has confirmed they are who they say they are. Look at the screen shot of the real Hoppers Facebook page at the top of this article. Notice the blue check? Examine the name of any Facebook page closely; it’s not uncommon for a fake profile to have a wrong spelling or a name that is close but not exactly that of the page they are impersonating. Lastly, and probably most importantly, there’s nothing wrong with asking your kids or grandkids if they can tell if the page is legitimate. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security reports seniors are often targeted. The younger generations live on the internet and can often spot the hucksters faster than we. There’s no shame in asking your son or daughter to look at a page especially if you are planning on buying a CD or make a donation.
It’s important to know that an artist or Gospel Group is a victim too when their name is used by a scammer who is trying to dupe you. The Gospel Group probably isn’t even aware the fraud is happening in their name. Do some googling and find an artist’s website if you suspect a fake Facebook has set up in their name. Most websites have links to their actual social media pages where you can check for the blue verification checkmark. If a Facebook page turns out to be fake, let the real artist know so they can take appropriate action. Facebook also has instructions on how to report a fake page. Here is the link.