On perhaps the busiest day we have had since opening the repair shop in Lithgow, While I was juggling three different customers (Solving Phone issues and Checking in iMacs for repair) My Phone started to ring off the hook. My friends were calling because they thought that my wife’s Facebook account was hacked.
Being that my wife was in the middle of her online classes she was not answering her phone so I raced home to address the issue. A closer examination showed that her account was fine.
- Strong password
- 2FA enabled with no attempts to log in
- No incoming or outgoing chats or recent posts.
So what happened? Her Facebook account was cloned.
So what is Facebook Cloning?
This is honestly not hacking. In fact, I could teach your Grandmother how to do it. It’s The process of creating an account to look like someone else. The Scam works like this
- Scammer copies your Name, Icon, and Profile image
- They contact your friends asking if they heard about cryptocurrency.
- They trust you and get conned into giving out bank details.
How do you protect yourself from your account being cloned? You don’t.
Unfortunately, there is no real way to prevent someone from copying your profile in the first place. Celebrities will have a checkmark next to their name showing that they have been verified by Facebook to be the real deal. However, unless you have an army of fans and a Wikipedia page that talks about your last project there is little chance you can get that level of protection for your account. but what you can do is be proactive.
We are lucky that my wife and I are known for making scammers’ lives difficult. So to our friends, it was obvious!
Step one: Report the page!
If you find out that someone has copied your page report it right away. Then get all of your other friends to report the page as well. You need to have at least 4 or 5 people report the page within an hour to set off an alert. (The more reports speed up the process)
If it is your friend whose Facebook page was cloned .. Call them directly. Do not send messages!
Step Two A: Post on your real page.
Yes, I know it is embarrassing however there is nothing you could do to stop it. Every moment that you do not make a public announcement there is a chance that a family member or someone you know will be scammed!!
Get your friends to make comments on the post so that it gets put at the top of your feed. This will increase the chances of your friends seeing this post before it is too late.
Part two B: Get ready for the “Hacker comment Scams”
This almost deserves its own blog post. But when you post something about being hacked or losing your account you will get comments on your post that talk about “A hacker helped me get my account back … contact (Instagram or email address) “
This is a scam that targets victims of scams. (Special kind of evil). Delete and report this kind of comment right away!
Change your passwords
Yep, I said it Change your passwords. Not just the Facebook passwords but all of your passwords. If you are wondering why you should do that even though you did not get hacked? The reason is that while you are at it you should have a better password just in case. There is a chance that the scammer has already looked you up and has an idea of what your favorite password should be.
Part two of this will be how to spot a cloned Facebook account.
I will start writing about how to spot a cloned Facebook account later this week.