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Scammers cloning Facebook accounts
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Social media

Is that viral Facebook post about scammers ‘cloning’ accounts true or false?

Scammers seemingly use every trick in the book to steal your information. From sneaky malware to fake text messages, many people fall for them daily. Even when the premise of a scam seems outlandish, many can’t resist the urge to act.

Some will do their best to warn others about new scams or malware spreading. Unfortunately, a simple message can get tangled up in alarmist wording.

That’s what’s happening right now on Facebook. A scam warning looks to be so unthinkable that some are ignoring it. But don’t be so quick to make that judgment. Keep reading to find out what the warning is about and if there is any truth to it.

Here’s the backstory

There are many scam variations on social media, and it can be challenging to sift through what is real and what isn’t. For example, a Kim Komando fan recently asked us if a message about cloned Facebook profiles is real or not.

The initial message is easy to write off as attention-seeking, including several exclamation marks, emojis and a sentence in all caps. But the question remains. Are there people on Facebook who want to clone your profile?

Well, sort of. But it’s not as straightforward as you might think. Your Facebook profile isn’t cloned by making an exact duplicate. Instead, more work is involved for the scammers who take your photo and create a new profile with your name.

Then, the criminals send your existing network of friends a friend request from the newly-created profile. Unsuspecting receivers will confirm the request, building an extensive network connected to the cloned profile.

What you can do about it

You might wonder why somebody would want to clone your account. Well, for various purposes. But primarily to ask for money, spread malware, or gain personal information.

According to NordVPN, many people will accept a friend request even if they already know that person. You may have even received a friend request in the past from someone you’re already Facebook friends with.

In most cases, the receiver of the request thinks their friends’ original account had been lost, or they want a fresh start. In reality, it could be a scammer wanting to rip you off.

Here are some tips on how to stay safe:

  • If you think your profile has been cloned, search for yourself on Facebook. If more than one profile is active, report the cloned profile to Facebook immediately.
  • When you receive a suspicious friend request, reach out to the person through a different channel like email or text message. Ask if they sent the new friend request. If not, it must be reported.
  • The best way to protect yourself is to minimize your publicly available information. Hide things like your friend list, groups and photos from anybody with who you aren’t friends. Tap or click here for 10 Facebook privacy and security settings you need to change right now.

If you have a Facebook account and want to report a profile or page:

  • Go to the impersonating profile or page.
    • If you can’t find it, try searching for the name used on the profile or page or asking your friends if they can send you a link to it.
  • Click three dots below the cover photo.
  • If you’re reporting a page, select Find Support or Report Page. If you’re reporting a profile, select Find Support or Report Profile.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions for impersonation to file a report.

Another way to report an impersonating profile or page is by filling out a form here. You can also report if someone is impersonating you or someone you know on Facebook Messenger. Check out step-by-step instructions here.

Keep reading

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