There’s a Facebook hacking scam going around where scammers impersonate podcaster/celebrity managers, inviting content creators with large Facebook page followings onto a podcast, which they ask to do via Facebook live paid events. During the podcast briefing, the scammer tries to take control of the creator’s Facebook page through the back end of Meta.
I almost got scammed. (On two separate occasions.)
Here’s one story – the other was quite similar but they didn’t go through my agent. Both times I had alarm bells – I was more prepared for this one.
I was invited on a podcast via my agent, and yesterday I had a briefing.
The podcast recording was scheduled for next week. The podcast was to be paid, $3000 US, which is a lot of money and it is strange to be paid as a podcast guest. I also wondered why I was asked on the pod, as I don’t fit their demographic – the podcast is hosted by a rapper. But there eas a South African connection, so I thought that may be the reason.
I said to my agent that this is a strange request, we both agreed it was, and she asked for payment to be made 24 hours prior to the recording. I’m often asked on podcasts so I didn’t really question things further.
At yesterday’s briefing on Zoom, the “podcast manager”, who didn’t have his camera on, took me through what would happen in the recording – that it would be a casual chat, and that I could talk about my interest in music, as well as being a chef. I said I wasn’t a chef, he quickly corrected it to “your love of cooking”. I said I’m headed to South Africa soon, can I talk about that, he said I can talk about that , and said he’s not in South Africa, he’s in Miami, but the hosts are South African.
He said I’ve been chosen to go on this podcast as I have a large following and am Meta verified. He didn’t seem to know much more about me.
He asked me about payment – if I wanted to be paid by Venmo, PayPal or bank transfer – I said my agent was handling that.
Then he said the podcast would happen through my Facebook page – my public Carly Findlay OAM one. He asked if I could ensure my page is set up for a joint FB live. I have done IG and FB lives in the past where it’s done through Zoom or Streamyard, and I asked why it can’t be done this way, he said because it’s sponsored by Prada.
Then has asked me to share my screen with him, so he could show me where to set this FB live up. I shared for two mins, didn’t type in any passwords and didn’t have any personal details showing. He directed me where to click. It seemed my page couldn’t invite another person to admin. (Phew!) Then I closed the screen share. He said I can’t do the live yet as I’m not set up properly for it, let’s talk again on Sunday. Fortunately there was a glitch with Facebook advertising on my end, which probably protected me!
We ended the zoom.
I felt really uneasy about it, called my agent, and we googled the podcast name plus scam. We found a few articles about this scam where someone poses as a podcast manager to try take control of your FB page.
I felt sick.
I changed my passwords immediately and then called Apple Customer Care to ask them to walk me through my MacBook to see if there’s been any spyware downloaded from his end.
Apple was so great. My MacBook is all clear and safe.
I feel silly, but also, this was so easy to be duped, because I am often asked to be a guest on podcasts. It seemed too good to be true at the time of enquiry, and I wondered what I had in common with a rapper. I was also a little worried given some of the controversies surrounding the podcasts – but the invites really did seem genuine. All the emails – both to me and my agent – were organised and professional, like they were setting up a podcast. Nothing out of the ordinary. I shared a couple of the emails below.
And the thing is, I’m internet savvy. I do podcast interviews all the time. I know how to be (relatively) safe online. I have two factor authentication and fire walls. But these scammers are sneaky – targeting experienced content creators.
With scammers impersonating celebrity management, I’d hope the celebrities do more to warn people about these scams. I saw one of the podcasters being impersonated has warmed their fans, but this article only came up after I knew what to search for. Prior to the zoom call, I hadn’t thought to google “MacG podcast scam”, I only googled the podcast.
All I did yesterday, since this scammy Zoom at 11.00 am is talk to my agent, change my passwords and talk to Apple, and I felt emotionally exhausted.
I have also found a number of other creators who have had the same type of invites to podcasts, and their FB pages were hacked or near hacked – with scammers taking over their pages. Thanks Geek Mamas, Hobby Bobbins, Kitten Lady, Johnny Jet and some others for sharing their stories.
Be safe out there!
Here are some of the emails from the “podcast manager”:
Image 1: text that reads: “
1 am Henry Joseph from MacG Management, the team driving the renowned YouTube channel, Podcast and Chill with MacG. Your outstanding accomplishments and captivating persona have caught our attention, leading us to extend a special invitation for you to join our Prada-sponsored podcast on Facebook.
Our podcast, known for its dynamic conversations, delves into an array of subjects to ensure a rich and diverse dialogue. We explore realms like music, dance, entertainment, public life, nature, life’s challenges, health and beauty, fitness, travel, games, entrepreneurship, and the tales of authors and writers. Also, women-centric matters, sharing empowering narratives, and educating our audience.
Your insights and experiences would be an invaluable addition to any of these podcast segments.
We have flexible time slots available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Slot 1: 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
1 checked timezones and this converts to 11am-12pm (notes from my agent)
Slot 2: 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM EST
I checked timezones and this converts to 1pm-2pm” (notes from my agent.)
Image 2: green text that reads: “Dear LuCy,
Thank you for your swift response and the collaborative effort in coordinating Carly Findlay’s potential appearance on “Podcast and Chill with MacG.”
February or a later date works well for us. As for the specific date, we remain flexible and open to Carly’s availability within that time
Regarding the payment process, arranging it seven days before Carly’s commitment sounds reasonable. We appreciate your understanding in providing the necessary invoices once the date is confirmed.
Your proactive approach is greatly appreciated, and we eagerly await the details on the selected date to proceed further.
Looking forward to Carly’s participation and an enlightening episode on our podcast!
I really hope Meta and the podcasters who are being impersonated take this scam seriously and put some warnings and protections in place.