In today’s world of hackers and scammers, it’s good to be cautious and proactive. This is especially true for your social media accounts. Maintaining your account’s security and privacy settings is a must, but sometimes that’s not enough.
Facebook account cloning isn’t something new, but it is becoming more and more common. If you’d like to know more about what it is, how it’s done, and what you can do to protect yourself, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll cover all of those things.
Facebook Account Cloning
When some people hear about Facebook account cloning, a lot believe that it’s due to being hacked. This isn’t true. Experienced cloners can mimic your Facebook account quite well, but they haven’t actually gotten past your security settings. What they’ve done is copied your account to make it appear as if it’s yours. Whatever information you have on your account that’s set to public can easily be copied and used in a new account, one that resembles yours.
If your profile photo is set to public, anyone with a Facebook account can easily click on it and then tap the “download” button. The same could be said for any other photos you have that are set to public. Your name, birthplace, current city, and anything else that is set to public is fair game for these scammers.
How to Know if Your Account Has Been Cloned
The simplest method to see if your account has been cloned is to do a Facebook search for your name or the name you use on your account. If you’re concerned about someone cloning your account, you could perform this search daily. Most people learn that their account has been cloned after one of their Facebook friends is sent a friend request. If they accept, that usually is immediately followed by a Facebook message, one in which they typically ask for money. That is the real reason why scammers create these copycat accounts.
What to Do if You’ve Become the Victim of a Cloned Account
If you’ve found a clone of your account, either through your own vigilance or by a friend alerting you, there are a few things you can do.
Report the Account
First, report the cloned account to Facebook. It’s a violation of their Terms of Service. Impersonating another account isn’t allowed and you should do everything you can to have the account closed. Here’s how you contact Facebook about a cloned account:
- Log in to Facebook with your credentials.
- Navigate to the cloned account.
- Click on the “Three dots” icon and select “Report Profile” or “Find support or report.”
- Follow the onscreen instructions on how to report the account.
- Block the account impersonating you by tapping the “Three dots” icon and hitting “Block.”
It’s also a good idea to alert your Facebook friends about this copycat account. Create a Facebook post alerting your friends that there is an account impersonating you. Tell them not to accept any friend requests or messages from an account that appears to be yours.
Make Sure You Haven’t Been Hacked
Although cloned accounts are simply someone pretending to be you, there are cases where hackers have gained access to someone’s account. Cloning is much more common because of how easy it is to do, but hacking does happen. If you think your account could have been hacked, here’s a way to check:
- Log in to your Facebook account.
- Tap on your “Profile photo” in the upper-right corner and select “Settings & Privacy.”
- Choose “Settings.”
- From the left-pane window, click on “Security and Login.”
- Locate the “Where you’re logged in” heading.
- Here you’ll see where you are currently logged in, at what time, and on what device. You’ll also see the last login from other devices.
If you don’t see any suspicious logins, then you have nothing to worry about.
How to Protect Yourself From Being Cloned
Cloners impersonate your account by stealing whatever information and photos that you have set as public. Although it’ll make it much more difficult for friends and family to find your Facebook account, the best thing that you can do is change your privacy settings for almost everything to “Friends.” By hiding most of your photos and information, only friends can see it. Since most scammers impersonate accounts by sending messages to your friends asking for money, it’s best to hide your friends list. Here’s how to do it:
- Open your Facebook account and click on your “Profile photo.”
- Tap on “Settings & Privacy,” then select “Settings.”
- Press “Privacy” from the left-pane menu.
- Locate “How people find and contact you.” If it says “Public,” hit the “Edit” button.
- Using the drop-down menu, pick “Friends.”
Facebook Account Cloning Explained
If you have a lot of your Facebook information and friends list set as public, a scammer can easily clone your account. Account impersonators then use your friends list to send them friend requests in hopes that they can later send them messages asking for money. Ensuring that your friend list and photos aren’t set to public can help to protect the integrity of your account.
Have you been concerned about your Facebook account being cloned? Did the suggestions in this article help you to prevent this from happening? Let us know in the comments section below.