Has my Facebook account been hacked?!

Please do not accept a second friendship request from me!!

Over the last few days, chain mail has been circulating like crazy via messages. Like a freight train delivering hot cakes. (what?)

Okay, not the best analogy but I must have received approximately 10 of these in the space of about 24 hours!

In total I have received three different types.

First one;

Hi….I actually got another friend request from you which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A NEW friendship FROM ME AT THIS TIME.

When I received the first one, I asked the person who sent it to me if they had actually received a new request from me, and they said they had. They had received lots, then they said they couldn't remember and had been told it was a scam.

So, I typed my name into the Facebook search bar to see what would come up. If my account had been cloned, there would be two of me.

Right?

That is right.

Another account did come up with my photo, my name abbreviated and a lot of familiar friends on the list. Upon further analysis it seemed that this was an old account that I thought I had closed.

It still struck me as strange though, that is should show up now.

Seconds later I got another message the same as above.

“Someone had admitted it?”

I received more, and I was surprised how many were actually confirming having received requests when they didn’t. It is quite amazing what the brain can do.

The second message doing the rounds reads like this;

Heads-up!! Almost every account is being cloned. Your picture and your name are used to create a new face book account (they don’t need your password to do this this). They want your friends to add them to their Facebook account. Your friends will think that it’s you and accept your request. From that point on they can write what they want under your name. I have NO plans to open a new account. Please DO NOT accept a 2nd friend request from “me”. please forward to all your contacts

This one seemed more credible and less alarmist.

The problem here of course, apart from people believing everything thing they read on Social Networks, is that cloning actually is a thing and accounts can, in fact, be cloned.

Not so long ago a friend I know actually did get her account cloned.

Okay, so the first thing to make clear here is that, the cloning of an account does not mean that your account has been hacked. They have not gained access to your computer through a three dimensional portal nor have they committed ‘inception’ while you were sleeping.

They have simply copied your photos and created a NEW account in the same name.

No they do not have your passwords either.

So why would somebody want to clone an account, what are the benefits for them?

Well once they have set up the account they can target all your friends and try to build it up, to make it look just like yours. They can get the names of your friends from your friend’s list, if it is public.

My friend's list is not on public display, because of all the famous people I am friends with…(He he he…not). So a good tip here would be — hide your friends list.

So, it is possible that a few of the gullible friends may accept this second friend request because they mistakenly believe that particular friend has accidentally unfriended them (maybe on purpose).
Also, people who have a large number of friends may have forgotten that they were already friends with them and accept the second friend request.

Like I did, when one of my friends was cloned — well not her, but her account

A good thing to do is, when you get a friend request, make sure it is not a duplicate by checking your friend's list.

Okay, so these devilish ‘cloners’ have some tricks up their sleeves. Once they have got your friend’s attention they might try to scam them by saying they are trapped in a foreign country (My friends would never fall for that one) and that they need money to get back.

They may even try to get more personal information and, if they are clever enough, they can commit identity theft using any personal or financial information freely given by the victim.

Remember your account if cloned, has not been hacked, people can not do this through friend requests and messages…

Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept anything from Fabrizio Brambilla. He has a photo with a dog. He is a hacker and has the system connected to your messanger account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it. Thanks. Forwarded as received.
Hold your finger down on the message. At the bottom in the middle it will say forward. Hit that then click on the names of those in your list and it will send to them

So can you prevent being cloned?

Yes, you can certainly make it harder to get your account cloned.

Start by.

  1. hiding your fiend's list.
  2. checking your privacy settings, making sure that only friends can see what you publish. Photos, posts, etc.
  3. Never post any personal information.

Eg: Passwords, social security numbers etc. — seems like a no-brainer, but I have seen people post scans of documents in public groups with all essential ID numbers, address, date of birth — not a good idea.

4. Don’t have your date of birth public either, so many people do.

Make sure your privacy settings are tight.

Just for the record — if you go away for Christmas, don’t post that all over Facebook either…

:)

Artist, Portuguese teacher, Singer / Songwriter, Writer and Philosopher…kinda…