Have you ever gotten a friend request on Facebook from someone you thought you were already friends with? Chances are, it’s a fake account. Scammers steal a person’s online identity and then friend all of their friends in order to get their personal information. There’s a lot you can find out.
“Just being their friend on Facebook, you can find out their date of birth, you can find out where they work, you can find out phone numbers, email addresses, family names,” says Kristina Barrett with the Computer Crew in Mobile.
Here’s how it works:
A nefarious individual recreates a person’s Facebook profile using their profile photo and “About” information.
Then, the scammer sends “friend requests” to all of the targeted person’s Facebook friends.
Experts warn that someone could learn a lot about you by gaining access to all that’s on your profile, like status updates, location, date of birth and photos.
They can also send messages to your friends, posing as you, in an effort to glean learn more about you, ask to borrow money or try to meet up with your friends.
If you get a friend request from an existing “friend,” verify that the request is genuine before accepting it. And of course, be very wary of friend requests from people you don’t know.
Furthermore, it’s a good idea to tighten your security settings so that only your Facebook friends can view your profile, photos and other info.
Another suggestion is to go into the “Friends” section of your Activity Log.
At the top, it says, “Who can see your friend list?”
In the dropdown, select “Friends,” rather than “Public.”
The Better Business Bureau warned about this scam last year.
If you or someone you know needs to report a fake profile, follow the steps below:
Step #1: Go to the profile of the fake account
Step #2: Click on this —>
That is located on the right side of the profile next to “message”.
Step #3: Click “block” user and follow steps
This story originally appeared on insider.foxnews.com