Many people were upset this past weekend when they received 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 coned Facebook accounts including hundreds of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. It tries to remove the 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.
I reported to you a few weeks ago an example of how a cloned Facebook account is used, Popular actor and former wrestler Dwayne Johnson, known in his wrestling days as The Rock is the basis for a scam presently found on Facebook where what appears to be a post from him appears on your News Feed in which he promises a chance to win tremendous prizes and all you need to do is pay an entry fee or click on a link provided. Unfortunately, it is a total scam that has nothing to do with Dwayne Johnson. There are no prizes and if you pay an entry fee, you lose it. If you click on the link you either unwittingly download malware or are prompted to provide personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft. Here is a link to Dwayne Johnson’s Instagram warning about this scam.
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.
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