It seems that every few days I get a friend request from someone who I thought I was already friends with. It looks like the account has a bunch of mutual friends with me so it must be legit.
Hmmmmmm.

Maybe they got locked out of their account and had to create a new one or maybe they “accidentally” deleted me from their friends list and wanted to add me back because of all the cool things I post?

So I do a quick search for the friends name and up it comes verifying I am already friends with them. Uh oh, it looks like I better let them know, so I send them a quick message.

“Hey, I just got a friend request from a profile with your name and pictures. Just making sure it wasn’t you.”

“OMG No, I must have been hacked.”

Five minutes later we see a new post….

“I think my Facebook has been hacked please don’t accept any friend requests from me! I have already changed my password.”

Has Your Facebook Been Hacked?

This is a very typical scenario that happens often but has the users Facebook account been compromised?  Not likely.  So what is the purpose of these people creating fake Facebook profiles?

  • For information gathering.  Once someone is friends on Facebook with someone they can see a lot of personal information about that person.  Most people have their Facebook profile set to friends only but if a fake account is friends with you then they can see everything in your Facebook profile including personal phone numbers and email if present.
  • Scamming.  A typical scam is called the Grandma Scam and is still fairly prevalent. It can be used against anyone but is typically used against grandparents of the fake Facebook account.  Typically, once the fake account is friends with enough people they would send messages (pretending to be the person with the fake account) letting them know they were in some kind of trouble and that they needed money quickly (to get bailed out or get towed car released).  Looking like the request was coming from their grandchild or close friend they would fall to the scam.
  • Spam. Once a fake profile would gather enough friends list then they would use the profile through messenger or other means to spam the friends list.

How can you prevent fake profiles in your name?

Now that you know that your real Facebook account hasn’t been compromised how can you stop other people from creating fake accounts in your name?  All they need is your name and your profile picture which is publicly available. To know how to prevent this you have to understand the persons motive. What they are mainly after is the people on your friends list.  How do you stop this?

Hide your friends list.  If people can’t publicly see your friends list they will have no idea who to send friend requests to.  To hide your friends list do the following.

  1. Go to your Facebook profile and click on the Friends tab.
  2. Once you have your friends list up click on the little edit pencil to the right part of the screen then select edit privacy.

 

3.  Change the option, “Who can see your friends list” to either Friends or Only Me depending on the level of privacy you want.  The most important thing is that it isn’t set to Public.

 

 

Other Facebook Security Considerations

The following settings are also advisable

  • In your Privacy Settings make sure that the “Who can see my stuff?” is set to friends only.
  • In the Timeline and Tagging make sure that “Who can add things to my Timeline?” is set to Friends.  Also “Who can see things on my Timeline?” should also be set to Friends.

 

As always if you have any additional questions or concerns about your Facebook privacy or computer help in general do not hesitate to reach out to RJS Computer Services.  If you found this article helpful or might know someone else who may find it helpful please share!