You received a Facebook notification on your phone. A colleague of yours, Melissa, requested to be friends with you on Facebook. Strange. Weren't you already friends with her on Facebook since like forever? Did she delete you by accident or did you do something that annoyed her previously but had since forgiven you?
Not wanting to spend more time pondering over this, you accepted the friend request and got on with your life.
Then Melissa sent you a private message over Facebook. "Hey! I lost my phone. Can I get your mobile number again?"
STOP! In fact, you should have stopped at the point of receiving the request to be friends on Facebook. It’s unfortunate that we live in this day and age where we need to be skeptical about every little thing. Why did Melissa send you a friend request on Facebook again? Is that normal? Was it normal that Melissa didn’t backup her contacts on Google / Apple iCloud? Does Melissa talk like that?
Tell-tale signs to watch out for:
What you should do when you encounter this
a. Go to the fake profile on Facebook and click the “…” button on the right side.
b. Choose the options as shown
c. In the following step, you need to “tag” your friend’s real account i.e. the victim’s account
Don’t get "cloned" in the first place!
Now that you know what to do when you receive strange messages or requests out of the blue, let’s reverse engineer the scammers’ operations and find out how to avoid being a victim of a cloned account in the first place. To avoid being a target for cloning, don’t let anyone see your friend list on Facebook! Without knowing who your friends are, the scammer sees no value in cloning your account. Here’s how to do so (based on the current Facebook user interface which may change from time to time):
Step 1: Go to your Friends tab in your Facebook profile
Step 2: Click the pencil icon on the right and click Edit privacy
Step 3: Change both Friend List and Following settings to “Only me”.
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