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Newstalk ZB’s Early Edition host Kate Hawkesby says she’s thrilled a Facebook scam which was impersonating her and telling people they’ve won a share of $20,000 has been removed from the social media platform.
A scammer had made a Facebook page pretending to be Hawkesby, and appeared to use photos of her from Google.
In a column, Hawkesby wrote that they were commenting on her show page, Early Edition with Kate Hawkesby, and telling commentators they’d won a cash prize. All they had to do, it claimed, was enter their credit card details to a provided link.
“I’m thrilled they have finally seen sense and taken it down,” Hawkesby said.
“It’s a shame it took that long. It’s great it’s finally down, what a relief.”
Initially, Facebook, owned by Meta, didn’t believe the scam is fake, said Hawkesby.
“The concerning thing is that Facebook doesn’t appear interested in shutting it down, I just think they are unable to discern between what’s fake and what’s real because in their mind it is legit,” she said earlier.
She was not sure how many people have been targeted by the scam.
Hawkesby said she was only made aware of the scam when people started messaging her on Instagram expressing how excited they were to be selected.
“I spent a good chunk of yesterday messaging people back explaining sadly they’d not won anything,” she wrote. “But I can understand their confusion, scammers are clever, the pictures are mine, the ZB logo is there, it’s got ripped off sponsor IDs stamped all over it … it looks legit.”
Hawkesby reported the fake page to the social media platform, and said several others have also reported it.
But, according to the radio host, Facebook said it didn’t believe the page was fake and said there was nothing to investigate.
In an email, Facebook wrote: “We reviewed the profile your friend reported and found that it isn’t pretending to be you and doesn’t go against our Community Standards.”
Evidence of Hawkesby’s real page and the fake page were included in the report.
“Seems like enough good evidence to me,” she wrote in the column. “But not for Zuckerberg. His Facebook bots or support team – whoever they may be – came back to us hours later declaring in all their wisdom, that upon investigating, they’d discovered that the scammer was in fact me. I kid you not.”
She said she was trying “desperately” to get the page taken down and was worried for people who might fall for the scam.
“Facebook keep replying and saying the page is legit, it is me and it will stay and we cannot understand it at all,” she said.
“I’ve had several people message me quite disturbed by it and I feel desperately sorry for them.”
She urged people to be vigilant on the internet and to not give out credit card details.
Hawkesby questioned how people and advertisers could trust the platform.
“It can literally leave up a fake scam impersonating someone, attempting to rip people off, all because it can’t tell the difference between real and fake. How worrying is that?” she said.
Hawkesby joins other personalities who have endured similar ordeals, including her husband, Mike Hosking.
In 2019 Hosking slammed Facebook after fake news stories using his photos began to circulate and a year later scammers created burner Twitter accounts and used screenshots of him to trick people into falling for cryptocurrency scams.
Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams was also caught up in a fake news story in 2019 which promoted Crypto Revolt – a computer app said to make users large amounts of money but was labelled a scam.
Radio host Duncan Garner, who joined MediaWorks this year, was also targeted in 2019 when his photos were used to advertise Bitcoin and cars on Facebook.
Last year, a company was selling CBD (Cannabidiol) products using All Black legend Richie McCaw’s image and name without his consent.