Have you ever received a friend request from a person already on your list of friends on Facebook? If so, you were most likely targeted by a cloned Facebook account.
If not, chances are you will. You’ll likely run into a scam artist posing as either you or one of your friends while you’re busy checking your social media feed.
It may be impossible to predict the exact number of fake and impostor accounts on Facebook. However, the social media guru said it took action against 1.3 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of 2021.
What is Facebook account cloning?
Facebook cloning happens when scammers scrape your publicly available social media information (such as your profile picture and info) to create a copy of your profile. The imposter then tries to send friend requests to your list of friends to conduct various scams, including:
- Sending malicious and fraudulent links to your friends and family
- Manipulating your friends or family members for financial gain
- Attempting to defraud your acquaintances using advance fee scams
These attempts may compromise your online and real-life reputation. Additionally, the scammer will even try to shut down your profile by reporting you to the social media platform.
How to protect against Facebook account cloning?
You don’t have to be a celebrity to become a target of social media impostors. While most individuals find out about an impersonation attempt from friends, users can also track down potential scammers by searching their own name in the Facebook search field.
Although no measures are bulletproof, adopting more privacy-focused settings on your Facebook account can discourage scammers from attempting to clone it, including:
- Making your friends list hidden
- Removing public visibility on your future posts, photos and profile information such as email address and phone number
- Disable any options that allow anyone to send you a friend request
Living in a social media-driven age, protecting online privacy and personal information is a must. Bitdefender’s Digital Identity Protection tool helps you take control and minimize your digital footprint by continuously monitoring for data breaches and social media impersonators that may ruin your reputation
Our tool proactively scans the web for accounts set up using your data. Each time a new profile is created using your info, you can easily inspect it and stop impersonation attempts before they cause irreparable harm.
Don’t forget to immediately report any impersonation attempts or suspicious activity to the social media platform and immediately inform your friends.