Ever had your Facebook account cloned? Scammers have been reported using the details of your friends to trick you into sharing your personal data.
A member recently received a message on Facebook Messenger that looked like it had been sent by a friend.
They started to chat in the normal way, but they soon realised it was a scam when they were asked for their email address.
It turned out that fraudsters had cloned a friend’s account by copying her Facebook profile picture and setting up a new account in her name.
It appeared they’d then contacted everyone on her friend list in the hope that some would respond and potentially fall for a scam. The member was keen to warn other readers about what had happened.
Lookalike Facebook profiles
They were right to warn others – lookalike profiles are a common social media scam that can lure you into a false sense of security because you think you’re messaging a friend.
These messages will often try to get you to click on a dodgy link or ask you to hand over personal details.
To spot these scams, pay attention to the language your ‘friend’ is using – is it different from usual? Can you see the history of previous messages you’ve exchanged with your friend’s genuine account? (A quick scroll up in the chat will show you.)
Are they pressuring you into something out of the blue? If you’re unsure, try to contact your friend another way to confirm it’s them – a quick phone call, for example. You can never be too careful.
Make your friend lists private
Facebook users can help prevent lookalike profiles being used to target their contacts by making their friend lists private or by restricting who can see the lists using Facebook’s privacy settings.
It’s also important to remember that you can control how much data a company, social media platform or app holds about you through your privacy settings. Read our guide to help understand what you can control and object to.
If one of your friends accounts has been cloned, make sure you let them know so they can report it as soon as possible.
They could also search for their name on other social media sites to check if there are any more lookalike accounts and report them too.
Have you ever received a scam message via Facebook Messenger? What were you asked? And did you report it? Let us know, and help us continue warning others who may be vulnerable.