Last week, Eater Houston reported about "some weirdo" scamming Houston Facebook users with dozens of fake restaurant Facebook pages full of images and comments ripped from real restaurants' websites and Yelp pages. And today, Eater Houston learned those fake pages were linked to "Le Huu "Bop" Huynh and Pichoudam "Oh" Peou, both members of the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity at [University of Houston]." Huynh and Peou's names were attached (via LinkedIn and a site called Angel's List) to a "shady marketing company", WG Health Resources, though both deny involvement.
The trolling seems to have spread to Philly's Chinatown, too. Koala's Sub, which, according to its Facebook page, exists at 1023 Race Street, and Taste of Seoul apparently operates from 1006 Arch Street. Both restaurants are, in fact, phonies: those are the addresses of Philly's real dim sum parlor Ocean Harbor and real bubble tea shop Kung Fu Tea. When you search the fake businesses' phone number (they share the same one) on Facebook, Peuo's Philly-proud Facebook page shows up, so there's some very well-grounded speculation that he's linked to the fake Philly businesses as well.
Why all the effort? The Houston Press theorizes two possible motives:
"What they're doing is gaining access to all the Facebook users who "like" the fake restaurant pages. This gives access, in many cases, to those users' friend lists, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. All stuff that can be sold. Also, pictures and account names can be used to make spoof accounts to further data-mine users. They're counting on people who don't have their Facebook account security locked down."
"Whoever is starting the pages could also turn around and sell the page with all the 'likes' to another business for a lot of money. You can change the name of a Facebook business page twice."
So what's the takeaway here?
Trust no one If you spot a new restaurant on Facebook, kindly tip your Eater, and we'll do the investigating for you.