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How to protect yourself from Facebook cloning


Facebook cloning

Facebook cloning is a technique in which scammers create a fake Facebook profile by using images and other information from a real Facebook account. At first glance, the fake account might seem genuine. Especially if the victim has a public Facebook profile.

facebook cloning

Scammers clone a Facebook account for a variety of reasons. They can send friend requests to people on the victim’s friend list and friends might accept it expecting that it is a real request.

Once the scammer has acquired friends on the fake account they can send them scam messages under the victim’s name.

They might try to draw the friend into an advanced fee fraud scam or direct the friend to malicious websites. Some websites might attempt to phish personal information about the friend.

It is sometimes difficult to eliminate the risk of having your Facebook cloned by a scammer, but there are ways to hide as much of your information as possible from scammers.

Hide your friend list

A good way to protect your friends is to hide your Facebook friend list from eavesdroppers. If a scammer cannot see who you are friends with they will not be able to send friend requests to them.

hide your friends list

To hide your friend list go to your Friends tab, click the edit icon, select Edit Privacy, and change the privacy settings in the Friend List section to Only me.

Run a privacy checkup

A privacy checkup is not available for every Facebook user right now. The Privacy Checkup helps you review who can see your posts and info from your profile, like your phone number and email address. It also shows you your settings for apps you’ve logged into with Facebook.

Click the question mark or lock icon at the top of any page on Facebook and select Privacy Checkup.

facebook privacy checkup

Wherever possible, make sure to change your settings to Friends or Only me.

Check your privacy settings and tools

Open the drop-down menu, click Settings, and go to the Privacy section.

privacy settings and tools

In the Who can see my stuff section change the options to Friends or Only me. You can also change who can contact you and who can look you up to a more secure option.

View your profile as public

Click the icon next to the Activity log on your Facebook page and select View as…. Now you can see your Facebook account as a member of the public.

view as public

Make sure your friends are hidden and go to the Photos tab. Keep in mind that your profile picture and cover picture are both public by default and you cannot change that.

Check who can see your photos

While viewing your account as a member of the public go to the Photos tab. Make sure that your photos are not public. If you find a public album or photo click the privacy icon and select Friends or Only me.

facebook photos privacy

You might need to change each picture individually. To change an individual picture open the image, click the Edit button, and chose the privacy option you want to use. You can also click the public icon next to the date the image was published and change the setting to Friends (pictured above).

Check who can see other profile information

Other information about you such as check-ins, sports, books, music, movies, and more can help a scammer build a more believable account in your name.

facebook more tab

Click the More tab and visit the sections to ensure that your information is not public. You can hide entire sections by selecting Manage Sections.

What to do if your account was cloned

If your Facebook account has been cloned, report the impersonated account to Facebook. We also recommend telling your friends that your account has been cloned and warn them not to accept friend requests that look like they came from you. Messaging your friends or publishing a post is a good way to warn your friends that you have been cloned.

Sean Doyle

Sean is a tech author and engineer with over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity, privacy, malware, Google Analytics, online marketing, and other topics. He is featured in several publications.

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