Fake Accounts Of Parkland Survivors And Families Have Started To Pop Up All Over Social Media

April 23, 2018
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Fake Accounts Of Parkland Survivors And Families Have Started To Pop Up All Over Social Media

What would you do if a Parkland survivor or one of their family members messaged you on your Twitter account asking for help? That is a reality for some social media users, only the people on the other end are impostors.

While FBI spokesman, James Marshall, says it’s unclear if any of the imposters profited from this new scam it’s highly likely someone out there would send them money. There may even be some who already have.

It’s the new scam bent on taking advantage of a horrible tragedy and people’s good intentions. Take a look and make sure you don’t fall victim to their sick game.

As Reported By Lisa J. Huriash And Anne Geggis With The Sun Sentinel:

Impersonators on social media are posing as the Parkland shooting victims and their family members — trying to dupe the public, discredit the victims or profit from deceit.

“That’s so sick,” said Marie Laman, whose 15-year-old son, Kyle, is among the wounded Marjory Stoneman Douglas students to recently be impersonated on Twitter. “Who does that?”

These fake social-media accounts spread after tragedies that attract worldwide attention, and the Parkland school massacre is the latest lure, experts say.

Scammers spin a story to make it appear credible and target people’s “emotional buttons” to make money, said Gleb Tsipursky, a professor at Ohio State University who studies the circulation of fake news on social media.

The contentious gun debate in the U.S. might make the matter worse.

Many Stoneman Douglas students have emerged as leaders in the push for gun reform, so those who disagree with them may impersonate them, said Melanie C. Green, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo in New York who specializes in deception online.

The goal is “to discredit them — and by extension, weaken their political impact,” Green said.

Kyle Laman, 15, has been through three surgeries to repair the damage of a bullet that tore into the top of his ankle and faces two more operations. One of the Twitter impostors asked for money under his name, leading other Twitter users to notify Kyle’s family.

Meanwhile, Adam Pollack, the cousin of shooting victim Meadow Pollack, urged his followers not to follow a fake account with his name. “This is not me, they’re going around asking for money like my cousin’s death is some type of joke,” he wrote.

The account has since been removed from Twitter.

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