Nythe, Eldene and Liden parish councillor Mike Davies was shocked to discover that a Twitter account had been set up in his name.
Not only did this account steal his profile picture, but it also retweeted some of the political campaign activity he’d been involved with to make it look legitimately like his account.
Whoever was behind this identity theft would then message people directly, pretending to be Mr Davies, before eventually offering them an ‘investment opportunity’.
The bewildered councillor – the real one – posted onto his Twitter account – the real one – to warn people about the duplicity.
He said “Morning. Just note this isn’t me. Please report. Ta!”
The fake account had messaged various people saying things like “This is my personal blog, to interact with people of Swindon and get to know their needs and what they want.”
In an attempt to see what would happen, an Adver reporter followed the fake page, and sure enough they received a message from the fake Mike Davies.
After exchanging pleasantries, which included the impostor asking ‘how your reporting job is going’ the scam began to reveal itself.
“Do you do any investments, you know they can secure your future as they are important?” not-Mike Davies said, before adding, “Well I have some which help me though, they may be beneficial to you, since I have some experience in them, I may introduce you to one of them.
“I will send you the info of my personal investment manager. I don’t normally give this out to people but am willing to help.”
Our reporter played along and attempted to get the person pretending to be Mike Davies to answer questions that would catch them out, but these were avoided.
Eventually, the scammer asked for an email address, which was provided. The reporter then received an email from ‘Tyler Smith’, the ‘investment manager.
It said: “Mr Mike Davies instructed me to send you some details about the investment.
“Presently what I’m offering is account management on my platform. Our platform helps clients who are interested in making 6X their original investment within 7 trading days.
“We have this ongoing program on our platform where we recruit clients and students who are willing to invest a certain capital in cryptocurrencies to be precise and get their potential returns in 7 days, a month, 6 months, a year and so on depending on how long you intend on working with us.”
“If you are interested, reply with a YES OR NO so we can proceed to start the investment.”
Shortly after this email was sent, the fake ‘Mike Davies’ Twitter account was deleted, presumably because a number of people had reported it.
Reacting to the theft of his identity for malicious means, Councillor Davies said: “impersonation is becoming more and more prevalent in social media – Facebook accounts are regularly duplicated to try and fool people into providing security details or similar, but this is the first time it’s happened to me on Twitter.
“It’s really important that people educate themselves on the dangers of scams on social media – if you see a new account for someone that you already know, let them know and report it, and most importantly don’t provide any personal details of your own,” he added.
The Adver asked ‘Tyler Smith’ why they thought it was acceptable to target people in such a way, but they have not responded.