Last November we reported on the Tyler Griffin missing person scam. Posts had been making the rounds on Facebook, claiming that Tyler Griffin, a young actor known for his role in the Insidious film franchise, had gone missing. The posts claimed that Griffin had been missing for several days and that his family were desperate for information. Unfortunately the whole thing was a scam; as well as disinformation, many of the posted links were directing would-be victims to phishing pages. This week, another such scam case has appeared.
Bella Heather Missing Girl Scam
Posts have been going viral on Facebook in relation to a supposed missing-person case: that of a young girl named Bella Heather, apparently from the close-knit community of Eugene, Oregon. The posts claim that Heather has been missing for several days and that the family are desperate for any information. Users are encouraged to comment and share widely in an effort to help find the girl.
The first part of the post in particular has been spreading like wildfire: “My niece Bella Heather 5-years old, has been missing for 7-hours. She was playing with her pup on our porch when she was last seen.” It begs the question: how many aunties does this kid have?!
Readers may also notice that these posts are being shared on trade pages — seems an odd venue for missing person posts. This is unfortunately a SCAM — and a pretty cynical one at that. What happens is that, once the posts have received enough online traction (shares etc.) the scammers will then alter the content of the post to advertise rental listings on shady real estate websites, as well as online surveys. You can see the transition in the posts below.
Red Flags of Bella Heather Missing Scam
Aside from the moral issue of manipulation, the links themselves lead to phishing pages where the intention is to harvest people’s personal information. Don’t fall for it! Beware also the following red flags:
- Some of the posts are from the Philippines
- Related YouTube videos come from South Asia
- There is no information about where exactly Bella went missing
- The location of the missing child’s family is not mentioned
- The child’s parents have yet to release a statement
- All posts are shared on Facebook only
- No correspondence address, email, or contact number is provided
- There are no updates on these Facebook posts
- The original post was removed by the owner
- The description of the girl is left strangely unspecified
Protecting Your Identity and Personal Info
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All this for free — why not give it a go today? As always, we hope this article has been an interesting and/or useful read. If so, please do SHARE it with family and friends to help keep the online community secure and informed — and consider leaving a like or comment below. Here’s to a secure 2023!
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