Facebook for the past few days has sparked fear on users over cloning as users send messages trying to convince their friends to not accept any additional requests. This has been happening a lot over the last couple of weeks on Facebook in Kenya and across the world.
What is FACEBOOK CLONING?
This is a technique in which scammers create a fake Facebook profile by using images and other information stolen from a targeted users’ real Facebook profile. They try to ensure that the profile created is completely identical and genuine as the original one.
This process is not hacking nor does the scammer have access to the victims’ real Facebook account, they have simply copied public available information and images and used them to create a new profile.
Their main aim after creating the profile is to send scam messages so as to start requesting for advance fee scams asking for help or that they are stranded. The victims friends will genuinely accept their friend request unknowingly thinking the user unfriended them or is opening a new account.
How can you protect your Facebook account from cloning?
This can be difficult to implement as chances are high that if you’re a target victim you can still be cloned. But you could prevent this if not yet cloned by:
- Use privacy information that hide as much information as possible from strangers, check and change privacy related settings via the privacy settings and tools section
- Ensure you hide your friends list ,if the scammers can’t see your friend list they will not be able to send fake invites to your friends.
This can be done manually :–
- open your profile and click on the friends tab
- click the pencil icon on the right side
- Clicks edit privacy. Select only me in the drop down list as a viewer of your friends
- Before accepting any new requests from an old Facebook friend first recheck your friends list and see if the person is still your friend. Then alert your friend so he/she can take the necessary steps to stop it from occurring to other victims
- If your account has already been cloned report the Facebook account to Facebook and let all your friends know of the cloning attempt
- Check who can see your photos: scammers tend to steal public photos displayed for public view, hide your current profiles and images. You could change the settings to friends viewing or only you in some of the albums you wish to keep private.
If every Facebook user was aware of how Facebook cloning scams work and how to protect themselves, the prevalence and impact of cloning would be greatly diminished or even eliminated. Sadly, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Nevertheless, you can certainly help by ensuring that your friends know about cloning. If necessary, take the time to explain the issue and help them with their Facebook settings. Sending them a link to this Knowledge Guide might be a great first step.