A Facebook clone, also known as a cloning scam is when a person’s profile picture and other social information is stolen and used to create a new Facebook profile. In most cases the cloned account will use the same name (or a close version) and send friend requests to the targeted person’s friends.
Facebook friends may choose to accept the friend request, not realizing the account is a clone. Once the account has befriended people it can then be used to collect personal information or to send scam messages in the name of the targeted person.
How to Prevent Facebook Cloning
The more information and photos you share using public settings, the more legitimate a cloned account will appear to those receiving a friend request. Controlling your privacy settings on Facebook is the key to preventing your account from being cloned.
One of the best ways to prevent this scam is to make sure you hide your friend’s list from public, prying eyes:
> Go to your profile
> Click Friends below your cover photo and select Edit Privacy from the menu
> Select an audience that is not Public (i.e. Friends Only)
Image Description: Facebook Privacy – Who Can See Your Friend List?
Avoid Public Settings on Personal Profiles
For most settings you want to avoid using “Public” on a personal Facebook account to ensure better control over your information and who can see and use it. Many of these options can be found in the Privacy Settings and Tools:
> Click in the top right corner of your profile select Settings.
> Choose Privacy Settings and Tools to review your privacy options.
Here are some additional, basic privacy tips that you should review to help to secure your Facebook account and make it more difficult for a malicious person to clone:
- Hide your Friend list
- Use the Facebook Privacy Review option
- Control who can see your posts
- Limit access to posted photos
- View your own profile as Public to see what people not in your Friend list will see
- Review your privacy options on a regular basis
How to Report Fake and Cloned Accounts
If you discover that your Facebook account has been cloned, report the fake account to Facebook. You can click the three dots (more) options from any profile, and then click “Report” in the menu. Also, if you receive a friend request, take a minute to review your current friend list to make sure the person is not already added, and if this appears to be a friend request from a fake account, report the account and also let your friend know they have been cloned.
Image Description: Report (and/or block) cloned Facebook accounts.