If you’re on Facebook, you see all kinds of posts: birthdays, baby pics, get-well wishes, proms, pets, and jokes, to name a few. Facebook is a great place to re-connect with friends, and stay in touch with relatives, often in far away places. It’s been great for me. It has helped me sell some books, and it just might be how you discovered my blog. There is a downside, however.
Unfortunately, those same scammers who once ripped you off in person, or by mail, can now do it online. Facebook gives them a golden opportunity. They can hack into your account, take over your identity, and even trick you into giving up personal information. They can adopt fake identities, and hide behind anonymity as they say and do cruel things.
Right now there are (at least) two viral posts on Facebook that I wish would go away. Those who spread them have good intentions, but they lead nowhere. The first is a coupon, promising you $200 off any purchase of $220 or more at Lowe’s. Let’s stop right here, and think about it for a moment. How long would Lowe’s stay in business if everyone on Facebook marched in there today, made a $220 purchase, and paid for it with a twenty-dollar bill?
Here is the statement from Lowe’s that they have posted repeatedly on their own Facebook page: “The post on Facebook is not affiliated with Lowe’s in any way. This is a phishing scam to try and gain personal and secure information. Please be careful.”
I have great sympathy for Lowe’s cashiers who have to tell customers that the $220 weedeater they just put on the counter, will indeed cost them $220. Let’s help Lowe’s spread the word. As my dear friend and former colleague Russell Martin used to say on the news every night, “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” Words to live by.
Now, on to the poor bloody dog. I am not going to reproduce the photo here, because it’s been seen enough. Someone recently re-posted a 2013 photo from Michigan, and put it on a Hamilton County “Buy, Sell, Trade” Facebook page. Immediately, folks started putting it on local news media pages, encouraging reporters to track down the guy who was wanting to give away a dog who was not brave enough to fight (I’ve cleaned up the language).
It got to the point where people starting calling 9-1-1 about it, forcing Hamilton County’s Emergency Communications District to post this message:
“We need your help! We are still receiving messages of concern regarding the posted ad for the injured bait dog. It seems this “internet troll” has accomplished his goal by causing outrage and distress as the original post was shared far and wide, even after it was pulled from the on-line trade/sales page. We are glad there are so many loving and caring folks out there willing to report these things, but now we need to get the word out about the real story and the final outcome of this sweet dog.”
They linked to this 2013 story, about a dog in Michigan named Toledo, who was a “bait dog” in a dog fighting operation. The dog was picked up in critical condition by a canine rescue group called “Home Fur Ever,” nursed to health, and is now doing well after being adopted by a caring family.
Again, there is no connection whatever to Hamilton County, Tennessee, and even though the story is two years old, the 9-1-1 folks are trying to make something good come from all this. They encourage you to “consider making a donation to a local animal shelter or rescue of your choice, to help turn the re-victimization of this dog into something positive.”
Hopefully, these false postings will soon disappear from social media. Only to be replaced by something just as bad, or worse. I’ll add my own piece of advice: “Just because you saw it on Facebook, doesn’t mean it’s true.“