The issue of fake accounts and profiles persists on Facebook, despite the social network’s efforts to curtail the problem. Scammers often create fake or duplicate Facebook profiles to trick and con unsuspecting users. Check out this post to see some of the reasons why they do it and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from this threat.Please like and share the alert to warn your friends about the dangers of fake Facebook profiles! Fake Facebook Profiles and Pages – the Tools of Scammers, Bullies and Thieves Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, but that is hardly the case on Facebook. We receive countless reports from people and page administrators that have had their profiles or pages copied by scammers or bullies. The most common scenario is someone copies the name, profile picture and other available photos of their intended victim. The next thing they do is block the person they are impersonating and send friend requests to everyone on the victim’s friends list. This is done to infiltrate their social network. Once this part of the mission is complete, the scammer has a variety of options at their disposal. They can:
- Data mine the accounts they have friended under the bogus profile. Even if you have your privacy and sharing options set to ‘Friends Only,’ you are still at risk if you accidentally accept a duplicate friend request.
- Gather enough information and target close friends and family members with something called the ‘Grandma Scam.’ The scammer contacts people close to the victim and tells them that they are in trouble of some kind, usually stranded on vacation, arrested or in some other legal trouble, etc. This is accompanied by an urgent plea to send money ASAP via Western Union.
- Spam scam links to everyone on their friends list. This is a common social engineering tactic used by online fraudsters. The goal is to use the trust of the victim’s social circle to make the scam more believable. We have seen scam messages promoting diet pills, free gift cards and pleas directing people to check out photos and videos. (These are just a few examples.)
What precautions can you take?
- If you receive a friend request from someone you are already friends with, don’t confirm the request until you verify it with your friend. Contact them by some other means – phone, email, text, etc. Obviously, if you contact them via Facebook the scammer will lie.
- Profile pictures and cover photos are public by default, and this can’t be changed. Don’t post a photo of yourself that can be copied and used against you. Use a generic photo or a photo of something that has meaning to you, but one that doesn’t contain your image.
- Make sure your privacy and sharing options are set appropriately so that people you aren’t friends can’t view your photos, videos, etc.
- Edit your friends list so no one else can see it. To do this, navigate to your Timeline and click the link to your friends list. Next, click the ‘Edit’ icon located to the far right below your cover photo. Finally, click the ‘Edit Privacy’ option and set the Friend List option to “Only Me.”
I have received such a message, what should I do?
- DO NOT CLICK the given link or “video”
- Delete all such messages immediately
- If by mistake you click the link –do not go forward on the website you have been redirected to. Just get out of it by closing the window/tab
- If you have moved much forward by clicking buttons/links –do inform your Facebook friends that they might receive such messages from your account. Tell them that these messages are spam and should be deleted right away
My friends are receiving such messages from me, what should I do?
- Delete all such messages from your FB wall and inbox
- Log out from Facebook
- Log out from any other website (like your email) that you might be logged into
- Delete all your cookies (in all the browsers you use)
- Clear browser cache (in all the browsers you use)
- Reboot your computer
- Change your Facebook password
- Inform your friends that such messages are actually spam (automatically generated messages) and if they receive anything like this –they should delete it.