Has your Facebook account been cloned?
Who among us with a Facebook account hasn't received the "I've been cloned - don't accept any friend requests".
Sadly this sort of fraud is on the rise mistakingly being referred to as "hacking" but it actually requires no skills at all just a bit of common sense.
Why bother cloning my Facebook account?
So you have a Facebook account but in general it looks boring right? So who'd bother cloning you? Truth is that makes you even better to clone because the chances are you won't notice it until the scam artist has finished with you. If you're on Facebook often - you'll soon notice unwanted activity.
So you get cloned - but why?
- Money scams: once cloned they befriend your friends pretending to be you. They can then simply use the emergency funding scam which is something like "I am stuck on holiday or in hospital and need some cash quick!". Let's face it - you'll probably have family as friends and that is an easy spot for the scammer. Do you know your friends bank details? Probably not and less so if it's a "please pay into my PayPal account". Small amounts like £50 easy to forget but target enough of your mates it soon adds up.
- Grooming: it's on the increase! There's two prongs to this unsavoury activity. They clone either the child's account else the parents account. With the kids account they can roam freely through the friends list targeting individuals for possible grooming. In particular those kids who haven't listed their parents as friends. What teen would right? The other type is simply to pose as a parent of a child because chances are the child's friends know the parent and that means TRUST. Gain the trust of kids online and this particularly unsavoury form of cloning becomes something utterly evil.
So how can I protect against cloning?
First of all - right now - make your friends list PRIVATE! This will thwart most potential cloners. If they cannot see your friends list they will likely venture elsewhere.
Here's a quick guide that will sink most clone attempts
Do these now!
If you access Facebook via a web browser on a laptop or desktop computer:
- Log in to your Facebook account using your preferred web browser.
- Click on your name in the upper right-hand corner in order to go to your Timeline.
- Click the Friends link.
- Click the pencil shaped icon just to the right of the "Find Friends" button.
- Click Edit Privacy.
- On the line that reads "Who can see your friend list?", click the down arrow at the far right and select Only me.
- Click Done.
If you access Facebook via the Facebook app on a mobile device:
Note: The exact steps required to hide your friends list might vary a bit from the ones below, depending on your version of the Facebook app. If so, use the following steps as a general guide.
- Log in to your Facebook account using the Facebook mobile app.
- Tap the Menu icon that’s located near the top-right corner of the screen (it looks like three horizontal lines stacked atop one another).
- Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy.
- Tap Settings.
- Tap Privacy Settings.
- Scroll down and change the "Who can see your friends list?" setting to Only me.
Please do share this with your friends and help prevent cloning!