I’ve talked about this previously, but unfortunately this scam has returned with a vengeance!
Facebook is now part of everyday life now for the majority of people, me included. It’s a great way to keep up to date on what’s happening both with friends/family and your local community.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help keep you safe in this online community.
The recent scam involves cloned profiles. You profile is your online account with Facebook. It’s unique to you – or at least it should be. What the scammers are doing is setting up a profile with the same name and photo. They use this “cloned” profile to impersonate you in an effort to fool your friends. And here’s the key to this scam – they need to know who your friends are. Unfortunately, when you create your account, your list of friends is made public, however you can – and should change this.
To change this, you need to go into your Facebook settings. This is usually accessed via a menu at the top right of the page.
From here you should choose “privacy”. The setting you’re looking for is “who can see your friends list”. By default, this is set to “public”, but you should change it to be “friends”. Once you do this, the scammers can no longer see who your friends are.
What should you do if you think your account has already been cloned? Well start by searching for your name to see if you can find the cloned account. If you find it, click on the 3 dots next to the “message” button. Here you’ll find an option to “report” the account. If you do this, the account should be deleted fairly quickly (within around 24 hours).
But why are the scammers doing this, and what do they get to gain? Well if they successfully impersonate you and get your friends to trust them, they’ll start sending messages asking for cash. For example, they may send your friends a message, saying that you’re on vacation and need urgent access to money. They’ll ask them to send an e-transfer and because your friends think the message has come from you, they’ll help out!
Now that you’ve protected yourself from cloned accounts, what’s next? Well Facebook have added a quick way to do a privacy checkup on your account. Click on the question mark, top right of the screen and under here you’ll find “Privacy Checkup”. This will take you through a few simple steps to help secure your account.
Now, there is a message spreading through Facebook Messenger related to account cloning that you may have received (I’ve had lots of them over the last few days!):
“Hi….I actually got another friend request from you yesterday…which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!”
If you receive this message, just delete it. Please don’t let it spread any further!
Instead, tell your friends about this article. Help them to secure their account and stop the scammers before they can clone their accounts. If you find a cloned account – report it to Facebook before it can cause any harm.
Until next time, stay safe on Facebook and let your friends know how to protect themselves too!