If you check your Facebook News Feed and Messenger often, you might have come across posts and messages trying to dupe you into thinking that your account has been cloned. The Facebook fake account clone messages are a hoax and they have gone viral over the weekend. Thousands of Facebook users have received hoax messages where the sender claims to have received a duplicate friend request from the recipient.
Beware of Facebook fake account clone messages
Louisiana Homeland Security Office said in a statement, “You can stop forwarding that latest warning from your Facebook friends about being hacked. You weren’t. It’s bogus. And you’re just making it worse.” Many Facebook users have reported that their accounts were cloned after encountering the hoax messages.
Here’s how it goes. You get a message from one of your Facebook friends telling you that they received a friend request from you (or someone whose profile looks like yours). The message also urges you to forward it to all your friends. But people are blindly forwarding it to others without even checking if their account had indeed been cloned. Such Facebook fake account clone messages have caused a lot of fear, confusion, and alarm among users.
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HOAX: If you get this message on Facebook, do not forward. This message is a hoax that is being spread around. You did not send anyone a friend request. It is not a real message. pic.twitter.com/xsIR8iVUNl
— Leah Shields (@LeahShieldsNews) October 7, 2018
The hoax messages appear to be along these lines:
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!
Another one goes something 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). 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.”
A Facebook spokesperson told LocalSYR.com that the company was aware that “some people are seeing posts or messages about accounts being cloned on Facebook.” The social networking giant described it as a “chain mail” scam. According to Hoax-Slayer.net, the Facebook fake account clone messages are an “amazingly inept” way to warn people about something that has been going on on the social network for a long time.
Please stop sending me copy and paste emails about Facebook accounts being cloned. Apparently this is a hoax and I am getting SPAMMED with them. It’s crazy. My friends are too.
— Brooke Alyson (@Brooke_Alyson) October 7, 2018
If you are warning your friends that you have received friend request from a clone account, it’s useful only if you have received one. The above messages only end up scaring people by asking them to forward them to all their friends.
Folks, please stop sending messages about Facebook hack. When you send these hoax messages to all of your friends, you are actually exposing them to more problems. This hoax has been reported by many news outlets.
— David J. McCarthy (@djmac47) October 6, 2018
Facebook told media there had been no dramatic rise in cloned accounts. A similar scam about cloned accounts occurred back in 2016. The social networking giant confirmed that the hoax is not linked to the massive data breach that took place last month.
Cloning vs hacking
Though the Facebook fake account cloning messages went viral only over the last few days, profile cloning has existed for years. It has been a problem for many Facebook users for a long time. The company claims to be working to make cloning more difficult, but clone accounts still exist and operate.
Remember that cloning is different from hacking. Hacking means someone has been able to log into your account and has taken control of it. Cloning means someone has created a profile with your name and has the same profile picture and other details as yours. They could send friend request to your friends hoping that some of your friends would accept the request. And then they could message your friends to ask for money or send them malicious links to steal their identity.
What should you do?
If you want to check whether your account has been cloned, simply search your name on Facebook. If you see more than one profile with your photo and other details, a spammer might have cloned your account. The best thing you can do is to “Give feedback or report this profile.” The social network could take up to 24 hours to remove that profile. Alternatively, you can report the profile here.
As for the Facebook fake account clone messages, just delete them and move on with your life.