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!
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!