I have seen recently a number of Facebook friends posting they have been hacked and not to accept any friend requests or answer any messages sent. I commented on one post with some information regarding this and thought it may be useful for others so have created this.
Firstly, thankfully, if an account that looks like yours is sending your friends friend requests, you haven’t been hacked. Your account has been copied. This is very, very different to being hacked. If you have been hacked, the hacker has gained control of your account, you will be locked out and prevented from accessing it. Ways to help prevent this are to change your password regularly. Make your password a strong one. I.e. a combination of case, text, numbers and symbols and don’t use easy to guess passwords, yours kids name, pets name, DOB etc. and turn on two factor authentication. I think Facebook have now made this mandatory. And for God’s sake don’t play those games on Facebook that ask you to name your first dog, first child’s name, where you lived as a child, all that stuff. They are designed to gather information to use for identity theft and potential passwords.
If your account has been copied, the first you are likely to hear about it is one of your friends on your friends list will let you know they’ve received a friend request from ‘you’. The copycat will copy your profile picture. This is always public, there is nothing you can do to stop someone from doing that. They will then set up a new account and use your name. They then access your friends list and send your friends friend requests or message them. Normally they will ask for help and try and get you to use a link to help them reset their FB or Instagram password. You have to enter your username and password, this is how they get access to your account. Or they will ask you to send money to help your ‘friend’ who has lost their wallet, got stuck overseas or some such shit.
You can’t stop anyone from setting up a FB account using your picture and name but you CAN stop them being able to access your friends list by making it viewable to friends only. This in turn will likely stop them from creating a copycat account as there is no reason for them to target you if they can’t see your friends list.
To do this, follow these steps:
*NOTE: the following are instructions for a PC. Google for Facebook app instructions https://www.facebook.com/help/115450405225661
Access your Facebook profile page and select friends, click the 3 dots to the right of the list, select ‘Edit Privacy’ and change the settings on your friends list from public to whichever other option you would like to set it to.
If you receive a friend request from someone you thought you were already friends with, check your friends list before accepting. It will likely be fake and you’ll find your friend still in your friends list. You can then report and block the fake account and tell your friend how to change their friends list from public.
If you get a message from a fake account pretending to be your friend, you’ll notice it will look like it’s the first message from them. There will be no message history. This is because it IS the first message from that account, the account is not your friend. It will likely sound nothing like your friend. You can then report and block the fake account and tell your friend how to change their friends list from public.