Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is used to hearing about problems with privacy and security issues, but a new scam, spotted in South Africa, may be the most dangerous yet. Hackers have taken to cloning Facebook profiles and attempting to coerce money from friends and family of the user whose profile has been copied.

Facebook South Africa

How Facebook Profiles Get Hacked

In order to do this, hackers have developed programs for so called deep mining. That means they collect details about a person’s Facebook profile, and eventually create a profile to mirror it. That profile is then used to make connections with friends and family of the user, and, eventually, to ask them for money.

The hackers aren’t stealing passwords and hacking into accounts, they’re stealing information and leveraging it to scam ordinary people. Their method of doing so, directly asking for money, may be a little clumsy, but it shows that a more sophisticated scam using a similar base can be carried out.

According to a TimesLive report, hundreds of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) profiles belonging to South Africans have been cloned in the last week, and users were contacted by those profiles and asked to hand over cash. There is little detail on how much money people may have parted with in the sweep of cyber attacks.

It is difficult to prosecute Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) for privacy and security threats, because there is still a dearth of precedent in most areas of internet crime. In most cases, it is up to Facebook to solve these problems, but as the firm’s social network becomes the “go to” identity card online, information is less and less in its control.

Facebook users log in to many other sites with their Facebook details, and those details are stored outside of Facebook security features. Cloning may not be particularly sophisticated right now, but it is sure to evolve, and it might be difficult for Facebook to keep it in control.

Privacy and security have not been major problems for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) just yet. The company is always in the crosshairs over one slight or another, but it manages to comport itself well in most cases. Cloning will probably not affect enough people to do anything to Facebook business, but it is a trend that all users of the social network should watch out for.