Many Icelanders have recently been inundated with friend requests on Facebook from dubious people, RÚV reports. Oftentimes, the person requesting the friendship has an Icelandic name, but the name may be misspelled, a woman’s name may be accompanied by the picture of a man and vice versa. Such mistakes reveal the fact that the person is not real and unlikely to develop a real friendship.
According to Gísli Jökull Gíslason, police officer for the Greater Reykjavík police, the friend requests originate from numerous fake Facebook pages intended to blackmail people by some means. Fake Facebook accounts are nothing new, but giving them Icelandic names is a novelty.
Gísli noted, “The change involves using Icelandic names. I don’t know whether that’s smart, because [the gangsters] had great success while they pretended to be women from southern Europe. So far, that has been more popular. I think they prefer making up a name they think might sound familiar to you.”
Gísli reported that the criminals gradually figure out which people are more gullible than others and then sell information about them to other groups of gangsters.
Every case is different, Gísli stated, but oftentimes it involves promises about a real relationship and a desire to come to Iceland. It can also involve sending naked pictures and asking similar ones in return, which then can lead to blackmail.
Usually, the fake accounts are easy to detect, Gísli points out: “The person has no normal friends and appears to have been born a mature person, at the age of 25 or so.”