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One of the more vicious scam attempts that I’ve come across is the attempt to clone one’s Facebook profile. What takes place is when the scammer copies or clones one of your friend’s profiles and then sends friend requests to all that person’s friends. Once they accept, the scammer is able to easily contact them through Facebook Messenger pretending to be that friend. Unfortunately, many have been scammed and what surprises me is that Facebook has not implemented yet some artificial intelligence (AI) to prevent this from happening.
Here is what the attempt looks like on Facebook:
I receive a friend’s request. The second one is a friend of mine from Israel whose profile has been cloned.
To verify my suspicion, I simply searched for his profile name and seeing two profiles, (the top is the valid connection, and the one below is the fake profile connect request) confirms my suspicion:
What I do next is report the fake profile to Facebook, which fortunately they are pretty good about removing rather quickly. To do so, I click on the fake profile and then on the top right I select “find support or report”
I then select “Pretending to Be Someone”
I then select “A friend” and specify which friend they are trying to clone. I complete the additional prompts and then get the confirmation email from Facebook. As I mentioned, Facebook usually removes the fake account quickly.
IMPORTANT: One way that I attempt to prevent my own profile from being copied is to change my own Facebook privacy setting that only I can see my friend connections. This way if a scammer copies my profile, they will not have access to my friend requests. I highly recommend you do this with your own profile.
Finally, I advise you always remain vigilant when getting messages through Facebook Messenger especially the ones requesting you click on some link which I very rarely do.
Wishing you safe surfing and when in doubt contact your trusted advisor.