Fake missing child reports used to scam Facebook users

18 May 2021
What was claimed

A girl called Ellie Morrad is missing.

Our verdict

She is not. This is the latest in a long line of fake missing child reports posted on Facebook to scam people.

Posts reporting the disappearance of a girl called Ellie Morrad have been circulating on Facebook.

One post says she went missing in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. But another says she went missing in Porthmadog in north west Wales. 

The photo accompanying both posts is not of Ellie Morrad but of a girl from Ohio who went missing and was found late last year. This girl is not called Ellie Morrad.

What’s more, a few months ago, other reports claimed a girl called Ellie Morrad was missing but these carried a different photo of a different child from the United States.

Needless to say, none of these posts are real. They continue a running trend of fake missing children reports being posted on Facebook to scam people. There have been no genuine news reports of a missing girl called Ellie Morrad. 

These latest posts link to web pages which are flagged as deceptive by Google and, on clicking through, display 404 error messages. 

We’ve seen similar posts that have been used to collect personal details from victims, in what’s called a phishing scam. 

For example, one post, sent the user to a site which looked like the Facebook login page, encouraging people to give over their login details. Reports from other Facebook users suggest this scam operates in the same way.

We’re not including any links to the malicious posts for obvious reasons. If you see this story being shared on Facebook, do not click the link.   

Organisations like Missing People, and Child Rescue Alert, as well as police forces are trustworthy sources of information on missing persons cases, so always double check where the information is coming from before you click on or share a post like this.

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