“My Facebook has been Hacked!” is something I hear several times a week.
9 times out of 10 I find that there hasn’t actually been an account compromise, but instead an unknown person has created a duplicate account and has started adding all the original accounts Facebook friends.
Why would someone do this? Well, if they can pretend to be you, they can potentially scam one of your unsuspecting Facebook friends. There is a good chance your Facebook friends trust and respect you, so if they receive a message that appears to come from you, they are probably more likely to take the bait.
Scams vary; the scammer may send through a link to a malicious website designed to collect personal details, the link could contain malware, or they could straight out ask the victim to transfer some money.
Picking the victim
The scammer doesn’t just pick anyone to impersonate online. They will usually opt for accounts that are publicly visible, have a profile picture, and have a publicly visible friends list.
A publicly visible Facebook profile is easier for a scammer to come across. Once they do, the scammer will then download your profile picture. Create a new Facebook account, and then add all your friends from your publicly visible friends list.
If you have never changed any of your Facebook privacy settings, there is a good chance your profile fits into the category of someone they would like to impersonate.
How to avoid this happening to you
Facebook default settings are somewhat questionable in respect to privacy. I will show you know how to lock down your Facebook account and change it from the very open defaults.
First of all click the menu button and come down to settings.
Click Privacy in the left hand Windows and change the settings to match the settings below.
At a bare minimum ensure that Who can see your friends list? is set to Only me and Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile? should be set to No.
These are the main two settings that are going to lower the odds of someone trying to impersonate you.
For privacy, I highly recommend changing Who can look you up using the email/phone number you provided to Only me.
More settings can be found on Timeline and Tagging.
Click on Timeline and Tagging and then change the settings to match the settings below.
These settings will help to keep your Facebook profile a little more private and hopefully make your account a little less easy to impersonate.
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