FACEBOOK users are sharing a warning that claims "almost all the accounts are being hacked", and offers advice to avoid falling prey to a new scam called Facebook Cloning
If you've spotted a security warning across your social media warning about a scammer tactic called Facebook Cloning, this is what is really going on.
Unlike the majority of viral security warnings on Facebook, this latest spate warns about a genuine threat to social media users.
Cloning is a malicious tactic in which the information and photographs publicly available on your Facebook account are lifted and used to create a new profile with your name.
A spate of warnings about the phenomenon have spread across Facebook – hours after it was revealed that North Korea had built its own version of the social network.
One example of the post claims: "Just giving everyone fair warning … Almost all the accounts are being hacked.
"The profile picture and your name are used to create a new face book account. And then they want your friends to add them, your friends think it's you and accept.
Carbon copies of the status are being shared across Facebook
"From this moment, the pirates can write what they want under your name!! … I want you to know I have NO plans to open a new account, so please do not agree to 2nd invitation from me!!
"Copy this message on your wall so that all your friends will be warned! Do not forward or press share. Hold your thumb down on the text until the word "copy" then paste to your status."
Not all of the information is accurate, after all, not "all the accounts" are affected by this particular brand of scam.
Also, it is not completely accurate to call Facebook Cloning a "hack" since it does not let the cloner access any information set to private on your social network.
However scammers can use your duplicated profile to make friends with your contacts.
They may send messages claiming to be stranded in a foreign country and in need of a short term loan to help them out of trouble.
And since the recipients believe they are talking to a genuine friend, they might agree to transfer the money.
Scammers can also use clone accounts to collection information on the victim or their friends by tricking people into divulging personal or financial details.
Unlike the advice in the viral warning above, there is no need to share the same status across your social network.
The best method to prevent Facebook Cloning is to make sure your privacy settings guard your personal details against anyone you don't know.
And if you find that your account has been cloned, you should report the fake account to Facebook –
- Go to the profile of the fake account.
- Click on the cover photo and select Report.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to file a report.