KSL Investigators shut down Facebook impostor gathering Gardner Village customer info

Nov 2, 2021, 6:20 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2023, 2:43 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — By now, you’re likely aware there are fake Facebook profiles out there, but the problem might be much bigger than you think.

Between April and June of 2021, Facebook said it took down 1.7 billion fake profiles – many created to sell bogus products and to scam people.

When a West Jordan business found someone was impersonating their page and couldn’t get any help from Facebook, they contacted the KSL Investigators. 

Despite an infestation of witches over the Halloween season, Gardner Village’s biggest trouble has been haunting them through Facebook. 

“Someone has stolen and impersonated Gardner Village’s account and is trying to get private information from people, acting as Gardner Village,” said Marcia Johns, Gardner Village’s marketing director.

Johns showed the KSL Investigators how someone has lifted photos and posts off their Facebook page to create a new page. Then, the impostor invited people to follow that new, bogus page. 

Gardner Village’s marketing director Marcia Johns shows KSL’s Matt Gephardt how an impostor lifted photos and posts from their Facebook page to create a fake page. (KSL TV) Despite dozens of reports filed with Facebook by Marcia Johns and her colleagues, the fake Gardner Village page remained active. (Used by permission, Facebook, Gardner Village) Witchfest draws in the crowds at Gardner Village in West Jordan. (KSL TV)

“The page is set up as a private account and not a business account,” she said, “And so, when you follow it, you immediately get a message on your I/M that is asking for personal information and for things that we would never ask people.” 

But the most hair-raising part of this tale for Johns isn’t the impostor. She said it is the response she gets from Facebook, despite the dozens of times she and her colleagues reported the fake page. 

“So, I told them what was going on. Very detailed. I even had graphics spelled out to show exactly what was happening,” Johns told us. “And they said, ‘We can’t help you — that it doesn’t go against community standards.’” 

Fed up with that response, Johns decided to call the KSL Investigators. 

We contacted Facebook on Gardner Village’s behalf to ask how this doesn’t go against the rules. This time, a spokesperson responded within hours and wrote in an email: 

“It is against our rules to impersonate a business and we disabled the account raised to us for violating these rules. We continue to get better at catching this type of behavior, including providing ways for people to spot and report suspicious behavior…” 

Indeed, Facebook pulled the fake site down.

It was a big relief to Johns who worried about the reputation of the real Gardner Village and its staff. 

“Because if you’re quickly looking or you’re not well versed in online security issues, you very well could be taken pretty quickly,” she said. “Ultimately, we’re not responsible, but that’s our public image. I would hate to see the livelihood of 200 people impacted because of a social media account.” 

To protect yourself from an impersonator, don’t accept friend requests from someone you don’t know in real life.

Also, don’t accept requests from someone you’re already friends with on Facebook, — it’s very likely a fake account. 

Reporting impostors

From Facebook’s Help Center:

Go to the profile or the page of the impersonator. Click the three-dot menu button below the cover photo. If it is an impostor page – such as a business, select “Find Support or Report Page.” If it is an impostor profile – such as yourself or a friend, select “Find Support or Report Profile” and then follow the on-screen prompts to file a report.

Locking down your privacy

Open the Facebook menu by clicking on your profile pic in the Facebook app. From there, you can select “Settings and Privacy” and then select “Privacy Shortcuts.” On this menu, you can select “See more privacy settings” and that will allow you to toggle who can see all your posts and who and how people can contact you. The “Privacy Checkup” tool will also allow you to configure various privacy settings.  

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

(KSL TV)...

Matt Gephardt & Cimaron Neugebauer

Bountiful woman left without phone service or answers days after her husband dies

When you pay for a phone service, you expect it to work. But after being unable to make or receive calls despite reaching out to the provider multiple times to fix it – a Utah woman decided it was time to Get Gephardt.

4 days ago

Cami Johnson reported to police in 2017 that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by her ex-husba...

Daniella Rivera

Sexual assault survivor says delays in police investigation allowed perpetrator to attack a teenager

A Utah woman said delays in properly investigating her report of sexual assault allowed her perpetrator to remain free and attack a teenage girl more than a year later. The KSL Investigators examined the timeline of multiple investigations involving the same man.

4 days ago

In the moment they feel like small purchases, right? An ornament here. A stocking stuffer there. A ...

Matt Gephardt

How you can avoid holiday debt despite the pressure to spend

In the moment they feel like small purchases, right? An ornament here. A stocking stuffer there. A last-minute office gift. But all this can quickly add up to a financial holiday hangover. And perhaps it’s one you’re still feeling from the last holiday season.

5 days ago

After a yearlong fight for a copy of the Utah attorney general’s schedule, KSL’s attorneys have...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

KSL files motion seeking release of AG’s calendar in public records fight

After a yearlong fight for a copy of the Utah attorney general’s schedule, KSL’s attorneys have asked a judge to order the release of the records, without the case going to trial.

5 days ago

Man's picture with details about him...

Daniella Rivera

Sandy case highlights challenges tracking sex offenders who move across state lines

The KSL Investigators have been following the case of a convicted sex offender from California who moved into a Sandy neighborhood but did not show up on Utah's registry for nearly a year. Now, we don't know where he is, but we do know he's not a resident at the latest address he gave to authorities.

6 days ago

Debra Gamero teaches a student...

Matt Gephardt

The insurance you didn’t know you needed to protect your side hustle

Having a side hustle to bring in extra cash requires determination and hard work. But if you do it without the right insurance policy, you might find an unexpected event could blow up your side hustle along with your finances.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

KSL Investigators shut down Facebook impostor gathering Gardner Village customer info