Picture this: you’re going about your day, working, grabbing coffee, getting stuck in traffic, the usual. Then suddenly you get an alert on your phone.
It’s a friend request from Facebook. You perk up when you see it’s your distant cousin who wants to reconnect! But then the confusion sets in. You were already Facebook friends, right?
You start wondering, “Did she delete her account and create a new one? Did she unfriend me for some reason and wants to reconnect?”
But another question comes to mind if you’re a regular Komando.com reader. “Is this really her?” You better think twice before pressing the “Confirm” button. There’s a new Facebook scam spreading around the world and it could cost you several hundred dollars.
This time, hackers are cloning profiles on people’s friend lists in an effort to obtain your personal information and tricking you into giving them money. They either contact you with a new friend request from someone you are already connected to or message you using Facebook Messenger so you think it’s legitimate.
One woman in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, named Debbie Day, thought she was receiving a message from a close friend on Facebook telling her about the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). It’s a list of federal programs offering financial assistance. She was told she was being offered a $50,000 grant, but she had to first pay an $850 fee.
You can imagine how tempting that would be. Just think of all the bills you could pay with that.
Thinking she was messaging her friend, Day relinquished her mother’s name, address and email right to the scammers. But when she told them she didn’t have $850, they were relentless in their correspondence. They harassed her, asking if she could get a loan. Eventually, Day realized she was being scammed and found out her friend had absolutely nothing to do with it. The scammers had cloned her ID.
Note: To prevent this from happening to you, make sure to update your privacy settings on Facebook as soon as possible. One thing you should do is set your friends list to “Only Me.” Your account will no longer be accessible to those who want to scam your profile by contacting people in your friends list.
Following these instructions: Go to your Facebook profile >> Click on Friends button >> Click on the button to the right of Find Friends >> Click Edit Privacy >> Change Who Can See Your Friends List to Only Me >> Click Done.
These scams can also spread viruses and malware. These people are vicious, so do everything you can to protect yourself. Always opt for being “private” on social media. You’ll be glad you did.
Spread the word and share this article to warn your friends.