Scammers' posts show newborn who went missing in 2020

UC professor explains how scammers use gullibility to target victims on social media

USA Today turned to a University of Cincinnati journalism professor to explain how social media users can tell whether a post from an unfamiliar account might be fraudulent.

Portrait of Jeffrey Blevins.

Jeffrey Blevins. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

USA Today fact-checked recent posts about an abandoned newborn found by police and urging people to share the post on Facebook. But USA Today found that the photos used in the post were of a baby that went missing in 2020.

Why would someone make up a story about a missing newborn?

UC College of Arts and Sciences Professor Jeffrey Blevins, who studies misinformation in the media, told USA Today that such copy-and-paste schemes are a “gullibility check” that scammers use to identify potential victims for future online fraud.

Red flags that a post might be tied to a scam include having comments disabled and authorship by a newly created Facebook account, Blevins said.

Blevins is co-author of “Social Media, Social Justice and the Political Economy of Online Networks.” 

Read the USA Today story.

Featured image at top: Scammers sometimes post bogus news on social media to identify gullible targets for future fraud, according to UC Professor Jeffrey Blevins. Photo/Pekic/Unsplash

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