A viral Facebook message is claiming that “if you get a friend request from someone you are already friends with including me DO NOT FRIEND THEM!!” which is valid.
The alert message reads in full: “ALERT: If you get a friend request from someone you are already friends with including me DO NOT FRIEND THEM!! Two of my friends this morning, have been Hacked!!”
The message is referring to a Facebook scamming tactic called “cloning,” which a profile–including photos and other information–are copied and used to create fake profiles in another person’s name.
Scammers can send out friend requests via a cloned account.
“Since the messages appear to come from a person that they already know, some friends of the cloning victim may accept such second friend requests without due forethought,” reads a message from Hoax-Slayer, which reported on the recent phenomenon on Sunday. “Once the scammers have accumulated a few friends for the cloned profile, they can begin sending out scam or spam messages. Again, recipients may be more apt to believe claims in the bogus messages because they appear to come from a friend.”
It can be prevented by Facebook users by ensuring that their privacy settings up to date, keeping “as much of their information as possible from the eyes of potential cloning scammers. The more information and images a scammer can take from a user’s profile, the more believable will be the resulting faked account,” says Hoax-Slayer.