If you use Facebook with any regularity, you’ve likely received a message (or 100) from ‘friends’ saying something along the lines of:
“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.”
“Hi….I actually got another friend request from you yesterday…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. Good Luck!”
I’ve received these messages from more than 100 contacts already — and it’s not true. Instead, this is some weird warning circulating around Facebook.
Profile cloning has always been an issue. It’s not more of a problem today than it was last week, last month or last year and it likely won’t be any more of a problem next week. Facebook always says they’re working to make cloning more difficult, but the copycat accounts continue.
Instead, this is essentially a chain letter scam, for lack of a better word, that’s spreading like a cold virus at a preschool.
Can your account be hacked? Sure.
But this is easy enough to check.
Periodically put your name into the search box.
Does more than one profile with your name and your photo come up?
If you didn’t create that additional account, then you’ve likely been cloned. Scammers do this in an attempt to refriend your friends and then ask for favors (usually money). If this happens, it’s incredibly easy to correct. You just contact Facebook through the “report this profile” link on the fake profile and the social media giant removes the extra account — typically within 24 hours.
I’ve had this happen to several friends and none have had an issue when the copycat account is using your name and photo (it’s a bit more involved if they take your photos but use a different name).
If you’d like more information on cloned accounts, this Facebook help page should answer your questions.