Facebook Cloning. What is it?

Facebook cloning is a simple scam. Your friends will be tricked into giving up their information if they see a cloned Facebook account. It may seem like a harmless prank, but these clones can cause real damage. A cloned account may convince your friends to send them money, collect passwords or other information, or dupe them into other scams.

Facebook cloning isn’t a hack or an exploit — it’s just a result of clever scammers using your information to fool your friends. Pretending to be you, the cloned account could message your friend saying they need cash to handle some emergency — for example, being mugged and needing funds to get back home. You may think your friends are too smart to fall for a scam like that, but because you are asking them, they may respond without thinking.

And that’s why you need to worry about your Facebook account being cloned. Whether it’s your own or a friend’s account, the harm in this “prank” is real.

How do I know if my Facebook account has been cloned?

While you can search Facebook for your name to see if there are other accounts pretending to be you, it’s likely that there’s someone else on Facebook who legitimately shares your name. So while you can do this to look for duplicates, be aware that not every result will be someone maliciously cloning your account.

But it’s pretty likely that you’ll find out your account has been cloned after the fact, when your friends notice odd behavior from you on Facebook. Before a cloner can scam your friends, they have to send them a friend request from their cloned account, which can set off red flags for the security savvy.

If someone accepts a friend request from you without thinking, they may start receiving messages that don’t sound like you. If a friend tells you they’ve gotten a friend request or a suspicious message, your account may have been cloned.

Facebook accounts that impersonate other people are against their policy. If you find a clone account, you should report it to Facebook. To do so:

  • Click the “…” icon in the upper right of the profile page
  • Select “Give feedback or report this profile”
  • Follow the instructions onscreen to report the account for impersonating you

Once you’ve reported the page, post to your timeline and warn friends not to accept friend requests from you. Also, tell them to ignore any messages that might be scams.

How can I avoid Facebook cloning?

Start by hiding your Facebook friends list. Anyone who clones your account will use your friends list as a list of targets, but if your friends list is private, it’s much harder for them to find anyone who will fall for their scams. Fortunately, hiding your friends list only takes a few quick clicks:

  1. Open Facebook from your web browser
  2. Click the triangle in the upper right to open the menu, then select Settings
  3. Click Privacy in the left-hand column
  4. In the “How People Can Find and Contact You” section, select “Who can see your friends list.” Click it.
  5. In the drop-down menu, select who you would like to see your friends list.

And while you’re looking at your Facebook settings, it’s never a bad time to review your privacy settings. Keeping your information locked down is the best way to keep yourself safe, so take a minute to review your other settings.

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