— October 9, 2018
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably been deluged with a message that goes something like this (complete with errors):
Hi. I actually got another friend request from you (October 09, 2018)… which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on this message until the forward button appears, then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too. I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!!
I don’t know about you, but I received a dozen messages like this over a couple of days. Why did my friends believe it? Maybe because in the past there have indeed been cloning scams on Facebook, where someone creates an account like yours, and sends friend requests to your real friends. Eventually the faker gleans personal information from your friends, spreads phony messages, or even hits them up for money.
But this recent hysteria had nothing to do with a scam. It was a hoax pure and simple.
What should you do if you receive one of these messages? Nothing. Delete it. Move on.
How do you know if your account has really been cloned? Search for another version of your account (easy if your name is rare like mine), and report the duplicate to Facebook.
Right now you should go into your settings and lock down your friends list. Make it visible only to you. So even if someone duplicated your account, they wouldn’t be able to access your friends. Within Facebook, go to Settings>Privacy>Who can see your friends list> Choose “Only Me.”
Stay safe but don’t spread hoaxes! Pro tip: Whenever you see something like “send this to everyone you know,” you can almost be certain it’s a hoax.