SKOWHEGAN (WGME) – Faked out on Facebook. Skowhegan police are warning the public after someone duplicated the department’s profile page and posted a phony news story.
“That’s our page.” said Detective Katelyn Nichols. The Skowhegan Police Department has nearly 3,000 followers on Facebook. “It’s great because we can reach everyone.” she added.
Social media helps them solve crimes, but as they’re learning, it comes with a downside.
“These are actual pictures from our Facebook page.” Stated Detective Nichols.
A copycat profile surfaced on Sunday, displaying the some of the same pictures and using the name “Skowhegan Police Depart-a-ment.”
First glance if you’re not paying attention, obviously it looks like the same page The schemers first post included a link to a fake news story about a murder.
“Uh it says three children killed by mother in Skowhegan, and obviously that never happened.” stated Detective Nichols.
Detective Katelyn Nichols said they worry a trick like this will alarm citizens for no reason.
Detective Nichols said “If you do go to this Facebook page, do not like it. Do not scroll through the images or anything else like I said, in case there is a virus attached to it, and don’t believe anything that’s on it.”
Police are not only warning community members about the page, but also asking for help. The more people report it as spam, they say, the more likely it is Facebook will shut it down.
“Everything’s traceable. Everything on the internet is traceable. Anybody that thinks they can hide behind a keyboard, it’s impossible.” stated Sargent Kyle Willette of the Maine State Computer Crimes Unit. “It’s very easy to create a bogus account.”
Sergeant Kyle Willette deals with social media often as a member of the computer crimes unit. He said law enforcement is just as vulnerable as every other user.
“Don’t be so loose with it. Like I said, if you don’t recognize person requesting friendship or association, then don’t give it.” added Sergeant Willette.
Fortunately this prank hasn’t done any harm, but Nichols still wants to know who’s behind it.
Sergeant Willette concluded “It will be a fun investigation for me to figure out who had the time to do this.”