“Andy is an energetic presenter who quickly captured our audience's attention. The content of his presentation was excellent and fostered lively commentary and questions. We will definitely have Andy back for another session and are looking for other ways to partner with him. ”
Jennifer Rademaker, Head of Strategy Development Europe, MasterCard
“As a direct result of Andy’s workshop, we are now implementing a “networking strategy” that is aligned to supporting our key business goal. Andy’s advice/insights have made me re-think all my customer interactions and even in the short term I am getting results. ”
Adam Newman, Health Outcomes Consultant, GSK
“I would not be exaggerating in saying that last night was the most well received and successful event YEN London has had in over two years. ”
Jairo Jaramillo - Chairman, London Young Engineers Network
“I would recommend Andy to come and spend time with any team that wants to maximize the time of its busy people out in the market ”
Tomas Freyman, Partner, Valuations. BDO llp
“It was the best talk I’ve ever been to. Loved the content, pacing, delivery, structure. Your message was very memorable (imparting that much information can leave listeners forgetting what was said) and you managed the balance between substance, detail and memorability well. ”
Rebecca Aguilar, BBC Worldwide
“I have already received three emails and two telephone calls from attendees who have expressly advised that as a direct result of the presentation they will without doubt be changing the way in which they network. A huge success. ”
Michael Strawbridge, Head of Member Services, Learning and Performance Institute
“At each stage of the event from planning to delivery to follow up, Andy’s approach was extremely impressive. He spent time at the outset understanding us, the way we work and our key objectives and this continued with discussions with us in the run up to the event to shape the session to our needs. ”
Andrew Kelly, Director Human Capital Services, BDO llp
“Wherever I go, Andy is held in very high regard and I can personally endorse him as someone who is easy to do business with, professional and also great to work with. ”
Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK
“Andy’s style suited our company values perfectly as it is very much based around letting people learn at their own pace and be part of the sessions instead of just being presented to. There was a mixture of experience, job roles, nationalities and seniority in the room and Andy ensured that everyone felt this training was directed at them, such is his way with words. ”
Robert Kenward, Global Development Director, Banks Sadler
“Andy, thanks again for making our Balance HK event a huge success. The audience gave you their undivided attention and you could hear a pin drop when you were speaking. I have never witnessed that before, with a room of 170+ people! ”
Maggie Suttie, Chair Balance Network, HSBC Hong Kong
“Andy Lopata is a true role model for any aspiring professional speaker in my view ”
Heather Townsend, author of The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking
“The feedback we received from members was overwhelmingly positive, making it one of the best sessions we had all year. ”
Aileen Parsons, Relationship Manager - Strategic Client Services, Paypal
“There is a handful of people who I would consider really an expert in networking, and Andy is one of the few people on that list. ”
Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and CEO, BNI
“The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to run the training in other offices in EMEA. ”
Astrid Huijssoon, Senior Marketing Manager Cross Border Trade - PayPal CEMEA
“In the pre-event correspondence, you were the most professional speaker we’ve ever had. By asking great questions as you did, it helped to make us more professional event organisers. ”
Jackie Barrie, Co-President, Professional Speaking Association South East England
“Andy certainly made a difference on how I normally approach / perceive events such as this. ”
Ann Azzopardi, Category Buying Manager, Pret a Manger
“In the three months since Andy delivered his sessions, I've noticed a clear change in the approach taken by everyone who participated. We have already received a number of referrals as a result. ”
Andy O'Sullivan, Head of Sales - Hospitality, Wembley Stadium
“"I was captivated by Andy's insightful and thought-provoking workshop. You could feel the energy in the room at the end. Several people commented that the event had changed their lives!" ”
Miranda Abraham, Chair, Women in Banking and Finance
“'Networking' as a topic can often seem forced... about tools and techniques to 'work a room' or 'get noticed' - Andy's take on it in this talk was so far removed from the glib truisms we've all heard before. ”
Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing
“Andy has a can do and flexible attitude and is happy to develop and shape the content in line with the clients changing needs. Feedback from participants on Andy's workshops has been consistently very positive. ”
Una Murphy, Manager BBC Careerlink
“Andy's enthusiastic and interactive presentation at our National conference was very much appreciated by all and his series of workshops for my leadership team has been put to significant positive use. ”
Shona MacDonald, Business Director UK & Ireland, Wound Care. Molnlycke Health Care
“Andy is really engaging and left the audience wanting more which is a rarity when you work in Finance! He is extremely professional and personable and it felt like Andy really knew the topics and had researched the audience. ”
Nicola Hradek, Co-Chair HSBC Balance Employee Network
“The process to gaining the right referrals does not happen overnight, but executing Andy’s strategy into your daily business routine will lead to referral success. ”
Tom Price LLB DipPFS Hodgson Wealth Management
“Several people were surprised to find out that Andy didn’t work in our sector as he related his knowledge so well and confidently, which was key to getting the audience to buy into his advice. ”
Suzanne Rowse, Director, British Boarding Schools Workshop
“Andy has successfully elevated networking into more of a strategic arena ...................rather than it just being a "skills" thing. ”
Phil Jesson, Director of Speaker Development Academy for Chief Executives
“Andy worked with my business partner and me for a number of months as a referral and networking coach. Our business has demonstrably grown due to the new techniques and skills learned through working with Andy. ”
Dan Hall, Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
“Not only my individual life has had a total makeover after I met Andy, as a result of my personal improvement, the networks that I lead are now making a much bigger impact in the society. I can never thank Andy enough and would highly recommend him any time without hesitation. ”
Ruth Lau, Central Marketing, HSBC Private Bank
“There are many motivational speakers on the circuit who leave behind them just a short lived glow and then there are the subject matter pragmatic, passionate presenters who can potentially change the long term way their audience thinks or operates. I’d put Andy Lopata in the latter category. ”
Trevor Salomon – Director, Corporate Marketing, IFS
“I found the session with Andy really interesting and helpful. It offered a different perspective to development sessions I have been to before and it made me really think about how I was positioning myself at work and what I needed to be doing differently. ”
Tori Henderson, Senior Public Policy Manager HSBC
“Andy's 'The Networking Mindset' networking event was fascinating. I've been to loads of networking events over the years which are always full of people who don't quite know why they're there.... myself included. ”
Nicholas Harkin, Head of Risk & Governance at Close Brothers Retail Finance
“It is great to work with a speaker like Andy who really wants to understand the audience he speaks to and tailors his content to them. ”
Galina Lebedeva, Education & Events Senior Co-ordinator, Wella UK & Ireland

Why Does Facebook Allow Identity Theft, Bullying and Scamming within its 'Community Values'?

I received a message on Facebook on Sunday. Because it went into my 'Filtered Requests', from someone to whom I'm not connected, I didn't see it until Wednesday evening. Even then, after a cursory glance, I nearly deleted it. 

Luckily I didn't. I had second thoughts and took a look at the sender's Facebook account. She seemed genuine enough. So I replied. 

Here is what Sarah (not her real name) said in her orginal message: 

"Mr. Lopata, just for your information, I was stupidly pulled into a horrible scam. Someone is using your pictures on facebook, building up a friendship and then using extortion to get money. Please secure your pictures. There are terrible people out there."

I had heard about this happening in the past to other people but had seen no signs of anyone using my image in that way. I asked Sarah to tell me more.

"This man somehow friend requested me on facebook. Your face was what came up. You looked like a decent person so I accepted.

"We corresponded on messenger, with him giving his story of living in Bolton, that he is a motivational speaker, using your pictures.

"Long story short, he won my heart and trust, stupid me sending him one or two personal pictures.

"He giving a story that he needed money from me, threatening to expose same pictures to all my contacts if I did not comply. Never got so scared in my life.

"Thankfully I confided to one of my friends who got her son to block him and reported him to facebook. I believe he is a Nigerian as he gave me a name and address to send the money to. My sister found a website where she entered your picture. Low and behold, it was your name and not Dave Davenport, which is what he called himself."

 

 

I searched for Dave Davenport's profile and sure enough, among the lists of results, was my profile picture staring back at me. The name was different, for sure, and the fraudsters had limited their imaginations when it came to the imaginary Dave's life travels, and education but every picture throughout the profile was lifted straight from my own Facebook profile. 

I immediately took two simple steps. I followed the Facebook procedures to report the profile as pretending to be me and asked my network to do the same. Despite my nagging concern that this profile was still live despite being reported by Sarah's friend's son, surely this would work.

Wouldn't it? 

In the meantime, Sarah shared more of her experience,

"I will explain this nightmare.

"In conversation with him, he explained that he is also a zoologist and he got this contract to supply two rare tigers for a zoo. He has to use his money (£130,000) to purchase these cats from his agent in South Africa. He goes on about getting dissapointments in finding healthy cats and the time running out.

"His agent finally gets a contact in Nigeria for a cat and he needs to send a downpayment quickly to hold the cat but he is not successful in sending from where he is. That's where he asks me to send it from here. I refused, he gets angry and then reminds me of the pictures I sent...the rest is history.

"This conversation was Saturday evening last. I told him I did not have access to alot of money. He told me to send whatever I had on me by Money Gram.

"Andy, I have NEVER done anything like this before.

He called me on messenger a few times, giving me a time frame in which to get the money to his "Agent". Before 5:00am Sunday morning he was on my case.

I was really going to send the money, but I went on Google to see how to deal with this. One article said, do NOT send money as your signature and other personal information will be online.

"I went in line, but the line was unusually long. I went into my car and cried. And I prayed... I was lost. My friend's face came to me, so I called her. She was my angel, she invited me over, drove to her house in a daze. Fortunately, her son was home and he helped me sort things out."

My friends were quick to repond to my request for help. Over 60 reported the fake profile and many shared the post and asked their friends to do the same. Thank you everyone. Surely with this many people all complaining about the same profile in a short period of time, Facebook would shut down the fraudulent account quickly. 

Wouldn't they? 

It seems not. One by one my friends received the same response from Facebook: 

 

 

How low are the Community Standards in a community that allows criminals to steal another member's images, use them to set up a fake profile and use that profile to deceive, defraud and bully another member? 

And don't get me wrong. This isn't a one-off. There is no Dave Davenport (well, not in this case anyway). This is a front for a criminal organisation. One of many fronts that are being used to defraud innocent people worldwide every  hour of every day. 

Yet Facebook lets it pass. 

For every hour that this Dave Davenport profile is live, the chance is that more people are being bullied, harrassed and stolen from. 

Of course, as soon as it is taken down, another will simply take it place. But that's no reason not to take action. I believe that there is a strong chance that people are being robbed because of Facebook's inactivity. And that's not acceptable in any community. 

And it seems to have been so easy for the fraudsters to escape sanction. Shortly after my friends started to report the profile en masse, the profile picture on the Dave Davenport profile changed to one not of me (or one with any discernible features). But everything else stayed the same. Every other image remains of me. 

 

 

I hope that Facebook will take action. But it shouldnt' need a blog like this to demand it. This is clearly a major issue. If Facebook can't even respond when it's this obvious, what chance is there that they are taking the overall issue seriously? 

Where is the education for members telling them to be careful before accepting a friend request from someone they don't know? 

Where is the education for members sharing the warning signs that someone is possibly going to defraud you? 

What can we do as a community to wake Facebook up to the inadequacy of their response and to protect the more vulnerable among us? 

In this case there might at least be a bright side. From what I can tell, Sarah didn't part with any money but she is very shaken by the whole experience and less trustful of other people. Which, while that might be a good thing in many ways, is a real shame too. 

Her sister had tracked me down, however, by searching my profile image and finding my website. And I did receive this positive message from Sarah, 

"Hello Mr. Lopata, me again. I am just dropping a line to thank you for taking prompt action on this matter. Also, I took the opportunity to view what topics you are into. I was so happy I did this as I am thinking of starting a little business of my own and your networking topics have been really helpful for when I am ready to start. Thank you so much."

 

Comments

The profile has now been

The profile has now been taken down, thanks for everyone who supported me.

However, we still need to challenge Facebook to take more effective action and increase education. I've learned over the weekend about another colleague who has been the subject of a similar fraud. This is obviously an activity that's on the rise and needs addressing urgently.

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