Yet another pointless and dangerously counterproductive warning message is currently going viral on Facebook.
The message claims that the sender received another friend request from you and urges you to check your account. It then instructs you to send the same post to your other Facebook friends. People are sharing the post via Messenger and News Feed.
But, the post is just an amazingly inept attempt to warn people about a common Facebook scam known as “cloning” (described in more detail below).
If a friend informs you that he or she has received a second friend request from you, this could indeed be an indication that your account has been cloned. And, you certainly should check it out so that you can take action to protect yourself and your friends if your account really has been cloned.
However, at the risk of stating the obvious, sending a second friend request warning is only helpful if you really HAVE received a second friend request from someone. And, the warning should ONLY be sent to the friend whose name is on the second friend request.
Unfortunately, this utterly absurd message advises people to share the post with ALL of their friends regardless of whether they have received a second friend request or not.
The supposed warning is doing nothing whatsoever to help keep people safe from cloning scams. Instead, it is spreading confusion, fear, and alarm for no good reason. And, it is panicking users into distributing utterly useless information far and wide.
Many people who receive the message may believe that the friend who sent it really has received a second friend request from them and thus mistakenly conclude that their account has been cloned.
Moreover, the message does not even explain what cloning actually is or provide any information about how people might protect themselves from it.
If you receive this message, please do not share it with your friends. And let the person who sent it know that the information is unhelpful and counterproductive.
What is Facebook Cloning?
Facebook cloning describes a technique in which scammers create a fake Facebook profile by using images and other information stolen from a targeted user’s real Facebook profile.
The scammers may be able to create a profile that – at least at first glance – looks very much like the target’s genuine profile. Especially if the victim has all or some of his or her profile material set to “public”.
Once the scammers have created a fake profile, they can send friend requests to people on the targeted person’s friends list.
At least a few of the victim’s friends may accept this second friend request because they mistakenly believe that the victim has accidentally unfriended them. Or, people with a large number of Facebook friends may have forgotten that they were already friends with the victim and accept the second friend request. And, regrettably, some Facebook users tend to immediately accept friend requests without due forethought.
Once the scammers have a few “friends” on the fake profile, they can then start sending scam messages in the name of their victim.
An example of the message:
Hi….I actually got another friend request from you yesterday…which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!