Facebook Friend CLONES
‘Hey, I thought we were already friends!’ You probably are. That familiar friend request is a clone designed to scam you.
If you learn anything from this post, learn THIS: if you get a Facebook friend request from someone you thought was already one of your Facebook friends, do NOT click to accept the request. STOP…go to your friends list and see if your friend is there, then contact your friend to find out if he or she initiated a new friend request.
I’m begging you to do this because of what happened to my wife.
She got a Facebook friend request from someone she thought was already one of her Facebook friends. She thought correctly — the friend was indeed already one of her Facebook friends.
But my wife didn’t check to make sure.
Instead, she accepted the friend request on the spot — without question. Not ten seconds later, her Facebook Messenger app blurted a notification. It was her “friend.”
The message: “Have you heard about the great thing that happened to me?”
A classic hook question. You can’t help but answer it. My wife did: “No, what happened?”
That’s when the scam revealed itself.
Her “friend” proceeded to explain that she just won $500,000 in a lottery. She just needed some help paying the legal fees to collect her winnings. She asked my wife if she could click on a link to make a contribution to the fees, with a promise to share a portion of her “winnings” with my wife for doing her a solid.
It wasn’t her friend. It was someone who cloned her friend’s Facebook profile. DELETE.
But some of the damage had already been done. When my wife accepted the friend request without double-checking with the REAL friend, she potentially shared her login and password information with the scamming clone. She immediately had to go into emergency mode and change her Facebook account’s password.
Scammers will scour Facebook for accounts that have either large friends lists or connections to friends or groups with large followings. They’ll scramble to copy as many of those accounts’ pictures, links, etc. to create clone accounts made to appear just like the authentic ones. The key is to ALWAYS DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR FRIEND REQUESTS. If your first thought is that person is already a Facebook friend, you’re going to be right 90 percent of the time. Do NOT accept the friend request without making sure FIRST.
“Don’t just automatically click ‘accept’ for new requests,” wrote Jennifer Abel in her blog for ConsumerAffairs.com. “Take a few moments to look over the profile and verify that account is a real person, not a scam. Scan your list of current Friends to see if any show up twice (the newer account is going to be the scam one).”
This Facebook link walks you through how to report a clone account, but the report must be filed by the person whose account was cloned. You will have to alert that person if you’ve been solicited by someone cloning their account.
If, like my wife, you engage in a conversation with the clone on Facebook Messenger, you can immediately block and report the clone right from that conversation. “On the app, tap the little ‘i’ tab, select ‘Block’ and then tap ‘Something’s Wrong’ to report it,” wrote Marc Saltzman in his contributing tech piece to USA Today. “On the desktop version, tap the Options (an icon of a small gear) to do the same. You can also send a message to Facebook at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
There’s another reason to double-check a friend’s Facebook request: they could legitimately be opening a new account.
Days ago, I got a friend request from someone I thought was already a friend. Against everything I’ve ever taught everyone, I instantly clicked to accept the request — and immediately panicked. Calling myself every word in the book, I frantically typed a text after the fact (instead of BEFORE, which you SHOULD do) to my friend, asking her to please tell me I didn’t just accept a friend request from her clone.
Those seconds that the wavy “…” icon took to let me know she was crafting an answer felt like hours.
Then it came: “You didn’t. It was a legitimate request. I had to shut down my original Facebook page because I could no longer access it. Please accept the request and thanks!”
Close call — and lesson learned: don’t accept that friend request right away. Reach out directly to your real friend FIRST in case that request came from a clone.
Copyright 2021 Wise ChoicesTM. All rights reserved.
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