+353 (0) 1 685 3029  /  +353 (0) 71 930 0942

POSTED 26.2.2021

Attack of the clones: How to avoid falling victim to cloned Facebook accounts

A new wave of Facebook clones is targeting business pages which have recently launched competitions. Here are a few simple steps to help you stay safe from cloned accounts.

Erin Fox

Several Facebook business pages, who have launched competitions, have become the latest target of Facebook clones. Personal accounts are set up in the business’ name, with their logo as their profile picture, and friend requests are sent to followers of the page.

The cloned account will then message the follower congratulating them on winning the competition and usually send a dodgy link to a legit-looking website for them to fill in a form with their personal information to “claim their prize”.

Any business who’s doing their social media right will never set up a personal account and send friend requests to its followers. So while a friend request from a business page may scream “Dodgy!”, cloned accounts will try to make the scam as believable as possible, quoting the exact details of the competition. Don’t underestimate how easy it is to be fooled by a cloned account.

It’s important to remember that while Facebook cloning is malicious, it isn’t the same as hacking. Facebook cloning is a simple scam where your profile photo and other public information are used to trick your friends and/or followers into giving up their information. Your business page doesn’t need to be hacked for scammers to steal your public information and clone your brand.

So, what do you do when your business page is targeted by a Facebook clone?

Alert followers right away

Followers of a page are usually vigilant and will alert you that there’s a fake account going around in your name. If one of your followers has received a private message from the clone account, ask them to screenshot the message.

Post this on your page and let your followers know that your business will never send them a personal friend request or ask them for personal information such as bank details, or ask them to click on a link to claim their prize.

Report clone account

If any of your followers accepted a friend request from the clone account, advise them to report the account and to then remove them from their friend list so that the clone cannot access their information that is only visible to their friends. And, of course, hunt down the cloned account and report them yourself!

Review personal privacy settings

It’s a good idea for admins and editors of a Facebook business page to review your own personal privacy settings; what devices you are logged onto and who can see your friends list. Hiding your friends list will prevent cloned accounts from sending your friends new requests in your name.

To review your privacy settings:

  1. Open Facebook from your web browser
  2. Click the triangle in the upper right to open the menu, then select Settings
  3. Click Security and Login in the left-hand column
  4. The “Where You’re Logged In” section shows you every device that’s logged on to your account, and when they last logged on. Click “See More” to see a full list, and review each login to decide if it’s you.

To hide your friends list:

  1. Open Facebook from your web browser
  2. Click the triangle in the upper right to open the menu, then select Settings
  3. Click Privacy in the left-hand column
  4. In the “How People Can Find and Contact You” section, select “Who can see your friends list.” Click it.
  5. In the drop-down menu, select who you would like to see your friends list.