Bohol bishop targeted on Facebook with identity theft

BOHOL, Philippines – Identity thieves lurking on social media sites did not spare the bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran in Bohol province.

Bishop Alberto "Abet" Uy warned his friends on Facebook – including more than 26,200 FB followers – that someone has made a bogus account of the bishop, reportedly for financial gain.

On his Facebook account (Abet Uy), the Boholano Catholic leader called out: "ATTENTION ALL MY FB FRIENDS: Somebody is making a false FB account of myself under the name abet uy, asking for financial help or soliciting something. Don't believe it."


Uy said he is not "doing any solicitation or asking financial assistance on FB."

"Ayaw intawon mo pailad (Don't be misled)," stressed Uy, who frequently uses Facebook to connect to parishioners, sharing with them tidbits of spiritual wisdom.

He also asked people to report the fake account "in case you know how to go about it."

The bishop, in the same Facebook post, turned to God in prayer, "Pastilan Ginoo, pasayloa ning mga tawo nga nangilad sa imong katawhan. (Oh God, please forgive those people who scammed your people)."

Bishop Uy learned of the fake FB account a day before he went to Butuan City on Tuesday, November 7, to attend the funeral rites for Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, a native of Loon town, Bohol, who died at the age of 74.

The fake account contained a picture of Uy in his priestly garb as the profile photo and a picture of him with a group of nuns as the background image.

Uy, however, is using a personalized coat of arms logo with this inscription: "OMNIA FACIO PROPTER EVANGELIUM," a Latin sentence lifted from 1 Corinthians 9:23, which means in English: “I do everything for the sake of the Gospel.”

A young bishop

In October last year, 51-year-old Uy was appointed by Pope Francis to head the Diocese of Tagbilaran, which has 600,000 members as of 2010 estimates. He was installed as bishop in January this year.

The Diocese of Tagbilaran is one of the 72 ecclesiastical territories of the Roman Catholic in the country, which covers about half of the province of Bohol. The other half is covered by the Diocese of Talibon.

Facebook cloning

A chain message has also been circulating on Facebook warning netizens on cloned FB accounts.

The message, which has been re-posted in thousands of FB accounts, reads:

"Please be careful: Some hackers have found something new. They take your profile picture and your name and create a new FB account. Then they ask your friends to add them. Your friends think it is you, so they accept. From that moment on, they can say and post whatever they want under your name."

Another version of the chain message reads:

"Be careful FB friends. Some are victims of FB cloning. The profile picture and your name are used to create a new FB account. And then they want your friends to add them, your friends think it's you and accept them. From this moment, the pirates can write whatever they want under your name! I want you to know that I have NO plans to open a new account, so please do not accept a second invitation from me. Copy this message on your wall so that all your friends will be warned!"

Rumor and hoax-checking site Snopes.com points to this as a mixture of truth and fiction.

While Facebook cloning is a real thing and does happen, it is not a new scam being perpetrated. Variants of this message have been released periodically since 2012. – Rappler.com