RED BLUFF, Calif. – On April 1, Haley Ray posted on Facebook that she would be doing an Easter giveaway at her shop in Red Bluff. But the next day, her customers alerted her to something much different.
“I get a lot of calls and messages saying that my Facebook has been hacked,” said Ray.
Instead of a hacked page, Ray found something else. Someone was impersonating her business.
“Somebody had mirrored my account on Facebook which was very, very crazy,” explained Ray. “They were messaging my customers that were involved in the giveaway. Messaging them and asking them to be friends on Facebook. When they tried to do that, they tried to get money out of them.”
The actual Tehama Floral Company’s business page shows a complete business number, a listed website, and has over 3000 likes. The page also says it was created in March 2017.
The other page, which Ray says isn’t hers, shows only three likes, an incomplete phone number, and a listed address but not the website. The page also said it was created in January 2021.
Ray told Action News Now some of her customers fell victim to the fake profile. The Red Bluff Police Department said it is aware of the case but so far no victims have come forward yet.
Ray said she and several of her customers tried to get the fake account taken down.
“We got a response saying Facebook said it was not in violation of their guidelines, unfortunately,” said Ray. “I don’t understand how but that's what I and the majority of my customers got as a response back from Facebook.”
A spokesperson for Facebook sent this statement to Action News Now:
“We understand it can be frustrating to experience any type of business disruption and take the violations that have affected Tehama Floral Company seriously. The profile of the scammer who impersonated this business was blocked within hours of us receiving the report from the business owner and has since been disabled. Scams and fraud have no place on our platform, and we continue to improve the enforcement of our rules, take legal action against scammers, and provide ways for people to spot and report suspicious behavior. ”
Facebook has since taken down the fake page. But even with the page down, Mother’s Day is next month, which is a busy time for Ray.
“Mother's day coming up, as a flower shop, is one of my biggest holidays besides Valentine's Day,” explained Ray. “I'm very worried that they're going to try and prey on my customers again and be able to use the trust that I've built with my community.”
Ray said she doesn't know why her business was targeted. She added she never asks for her customer's personal information over social media platforms like Facebook.