Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan of Nova Scotia is one of a number of federal ministers and MPs recently targeted in a Facebook impersonation and phishing scam.
Émilie Simard, press secretary for Jordan – who is also the MP for South Shore-St. Margarets – said her office was notified there was an account on Facebook Messenger using Jordan’s photo and name.
Simard said the account was reported to Facebook and taken down immediately. She couldn’t provide any further comment on the matter.
Other media reports cite a number of elected officials who have been targeted by the scam, including Maryam Monsef, minister of international development and minister for women and gender equality; Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos; and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, as well as Liberal MPs Terry Sheehan, Anthony Rota, Adam Vaughan and Sherry Romanado.
Earlier this week, Monsef warned via social media that there had been an increase in accounts impersonating MPs over the past several weeks.
She asked Canadians to ensure they’re following authentic accounts and to report accounts they suspect are fraudulent.
“If you ever have questions about the validity of an account, please reach out for more information,” she tweeted.
Sheehan, MP for Sault Ste. Marie, posted on Facebook that his office had been notified that a fake account using his name and photo had been messaging constituents, telling them about government grants in an effort to phish for information.
In a post to his official Facebook page, Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Rota warned of some red flags to look for when trying to identify spam accounts, including the absence of a blue verified checkmark, and the presence of information on the suspect account, such as "using Messenger without Facebook” or “account was recently created.”
Vaughan, MP for Spadina-Fort York, posted that he expects these scam attempts to continue during the election campaign.
Several MPs, including Rota, Vaughan, and Jordan, have confirmed that MPs’ offices do not initiate conversations with constituents or any Facebook users via Facebook Messenger.