“Send In the Clones”

It struck me as kind of odd. 


I was going through my email inbox and saw a Facebook friend request from someone with whom I thought I was already friends. Suspecting something was amiss, I texted my friend, asking her if her Facebook request was legitimate, knowing that people sometimes delete their accounts or inadvertently “defriend” (“unfriend?”) someone, but it could also be a scam. 


She replied that yes, we were in fact still FB friends according to her account, so her page must have been “hacked.” 


Actually, what happened is called “Facebook cloning,” and it’s more common than you may think. It’s just one of the estimated 850,000 active Facebook scams out there right now. 


How it works is that a crook copies the photos and details from the real person’s “about” page and then creates a fake one. Once the phony page is set up they send out messages to the cloning victim’s friends asking for money because they’re in trouble overseas, lost their wallet, etc., etc. The scam uses the FLAGS of sympathy and fear (for the friend’s safety or wellbeing) to get the message recipients to wire money. There have even been reports of scammers blocking the real profile by using the fake account to “report/block” the true page. Sneaky, huh? 


Here’s what you do if you get a sketchy friend request from someone you think is already your friend:


  • If it turns out the page is fake, report it to Facebook here
Facebook is a great way for seniors and others to keep up with friends and family, but as we’ve covered before, it can also be a source of a lot of scams. Now you know what to do if a scammer “sends in the clone” to rip you off. 
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