Today’s Scam of the day is one about which I have written in the past, however it continues to pop up frequently and deserves to be discussed again. Many people are receiving a Facebook post from friends saying their account had been hacked and not to accept friend requests by them. Many people cut and pasted the message and sent it out to all of their friends as the post asked them to do. However, there is no need to panic. The message is a hoax.

If one of your friends actually received a friend request that appeared to come from you, it does not mean that your account was hacked. It does mean however that your account was cloned in the sense that someone has set up a Facebook account or some other social media account in your name or a slight variation of it in order to trick people into trusting messages that they post, to lure them into scams or to trick them into clicking on links containing malware. This is nothing new. Facebook estimates that there are as many as 60 million phony cloned Facebook accounts including hundreds of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook tries to remove the cloned accounts when it becomes aware of them, but they spring up again soon thereafter. If you do find that someone has set up a Facebook account in your name, you should contact Facebook as soon as possible in order for Facebook to take action to cancel the phony cloned account. Here is a link you can use to report such a phony or cloned account.  https://www.facebook.com/help/306643639690823?helpref=uf_permalink

TIPS

As indicated above, if you do receive a friend request from someone who already is a Facebook friend of yours, you should contact the friend to let them know that their Facebook account has been cloned so they can report it to Facebook and get the phony, cloned account taken down. It is also important to remember that there will be times that you are contacted by what appear to be real friends or acquaintances where the truth is that it really is not them contacting you, but someone posing as them. Never click on links in any email or text message unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. Never provide personal information in response to any communication as well until you have confirmed that it is legitimate. As I always warn you, trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

This is probably also a good time to remind you about steps you can take to actually make your Facebook account more impervious to actually being hacked.  The first thing you should do is make sure you have a strong password.  For some advice about choosing a strong password, go to the Search  scams tab in www.scamicide.com and write in “strong password” which will bring up a number of Scams of the day in which I described how to pick a strong password.  You should also enable two factor authentication for your account which will dramatically strengthen the security of your Facebook account. Here is a link with more information about how to install dual factor authentication for your Facebook account. https://m.facebook.com/help/148233965247823?helpref=faq_content  You also may want to review your privacy settings on Facebook to make them less vulnerable to hackers. Here is a link with more information about adjusting your privacy settings on Facebook.  https://m.facebook.com/help/193677450678703?helpref=hc_fnav&refid=69

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