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Worried Your Facebook Account Has Been Cloned? Here’s What to Know About This New Hoax

2 minute read

Facebook users are being duped into thinking that their accounts have been cloned thanks to a viral message that made the rounds of the social networking site on Sunday.

The message says that the sender has received a duplicate friend request from the recipient. Then, it tells the receiver to forward the same message to their friends. Many have apparently taken that to mean that they should forward the same message to all of their friends, prompting dozens or even hundreds of others to believe that there may be a problem with their accounts as well.

The message hints that the receiver may have been the victim of a cloning scam. That’s where a malicious user copies images and information from a person’s Facebook account in order to create a duplicate “clone” account, then sends out friend requests to the victim’s friends. The duplicate user may message these friends in an attempt to learn personal information about the cloned user or to spread scam messages.

Mass cloning scams have occurred recently, as in the summer of 2016, but Facebook officials told WSYR that this most recent viral message does not reflect an actual epidemic of cloned accounts, nor is it related to the data breach that occurred in September.

There appears to be no reason at this time to forward a message telling friends that their account may have been cloned without having actually received a duplicate friend request.

Many users have expressed their frustration at receiving dozens of phony messages saying their accounts have been hacked.

So what should you do if you receive one of these hoax messages? Nothing. Delete the message and move on.

If you are worried you might be the victim of Facebook cloning, try searching for other versions of your account and report duplicate profiles to Facebook.

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Write to Alejandro de la Garza at alejandro.delagarza@time.com