Facebook Cloning.

Facebook account cloning is a social engineering technique that has been gaining popularity with scammers. Your information that is already available on your Facebook page is used to create a copy of your Facebook account.

Cloned Facebook Accounts.

This does not entail hacking into your account but it could still be a significant cause for concern. A fake account with publicly available information from your existing account can seem entirely legitimate.

The person cloning your Facebook account will then try to add people from your friend list to make it look more authentic. This is done by sending friend requests from cloned accounts. This not only makes the account look legitimate but also gives them an idea of who to target if friends accept a request from a cloned account.

What can scammers do using cloned Facebook accounts?

  1. The scammers could send malicious links to people on your friend list. These links could seem normal but might be hosts to malware that could infect their computer. This could then compromise their financial data, personal information & location.
  2. They could scam your friends into loaning them money by pretending to be you. This usually involves contacting many people on your friend list with some fake story designed to elicit sympathy. Your friends will then transfer the money into the scammer’s account & your fake account might be deleted once they’ve done this to a few people.
  3. They can contact your friends & get personal information about you. This plays a significant role in attaining the details required to make your account look legitimate.
  4. They could post inappropriate content that could damage your reputation.
  5. They could report your real account & have it taken down.
  6. They could carry out a simple bait & switch attack. This shows a lucrative deal or link to an attractive post on your feed. However, once your friends click on the link, it redirects them to a malicious app download that runs in the background, possibly extracting information from their system.

How do you know if your account has been cloned?

In most cases, your friends will receive a suspicious friend request while they are already on your friend list. Be sure to check out such warnings & make sure you report cloned accounts to Facebook straight away. If you think you may have been cloned, type in your name in the search bar on Facebook. If there are multiple accounts with your name, photographs & details, your account has been cloned.

What to do if your account has been cloned.

If your account has been cloned & you find out about it, be quick to take action. Be sure to inform your friends about the cloned account immediately. Contact & notify them to ignore the fake profile. The best way to move forward is to report the account. The three dots next to the fake account home page, offer you the option to ask for support or report the account. You can choose “Pretending to be someone” & then follow the subsequent instructions until the page has been reported.

Asking your friends to report the page is an excellent way to ensure that the account gets blocked quickly. Account cloning is a recent social engineering technique, but scammers rapidly develop new & innovative methods to use it. With so much information publicly available, it is one of the easiest ways to carry out identity theft, spread malicious software & even scam people out of money.

Preventing Cloning of your Facebook account.

To update the privacy settings on your Facebook account always follow the latest Facebook advice which can be seen on the following page:

  https://www.facebook.com/help/193677450678703/

Having multiple Facebook Accounts.

If you have multiple Facebook Accounts because you have forgotten your password & have set up another account, cloning your account becomes even easier. Instead of setting up a new account, ask Facebook to remind you of your password & then change it to something more secure & easier to remember.

If you do set up a new Facebook account, ask Facebook to delete the old account to prevent scammers from using it.