Facebook page clone:  Maybe it was a close friend and you’re suddenly getting an invitation to a “new page”.  Maybe it’s a scammer! How can you tell if it’s real or not?  We’ve all seen it — the panic posts from a friend saying “someone stole my profile – Don’t “Like” them!

This alternate page is a Facebook page clone, created solely to fool people.  It wasn’t hacked — the basics were copied onto a new Facebook profile page designed to get "<yoastmarkyour friends to attach to it.  Their name, some photos, maybe where they live, even their job title… Just enough information taken from your friend’s account so that the unaware might not pick up on it.  But you can!

Is My Friend’s Facebook Page Clone Or Not?

In MANY cases, it’s true that you should beware of a friends’ new profile… however, looking at the new Facebook profile is a good way to see if it’s been hijacked or cloned or if they did create a new profile.

  • Hint One: Does the second request “talk” or interact like your friend in their comments and photo posts.  Does something seem off? If it doesn’t fit your friend, it is a clone.
  • Hint Two: Do they respond?  Can they give information that the two of you share and understand? If the conversations seem vague or suspicious, it is a cloned page.
  • Hint Three: Is your “friend” living somewhere else, have odd, unknown individuals’ photos on the page?  Are many of these people out of your area, or even out of your country. Yep, cloned. 
  • Hint Four:  Is your friend advertising in  new, odd ways ?  Are there strange URL’s attached to the advertising? Are they sending spammy-looking emails to your messenger? Did you get a very out-of-character request from them? If you clicked at all on any links they sent, you must run your antivirus program.  Don’t shut down your computer, tablet or phone yet. Clean it up first! Then, immediately change your account passwords. If you don’t run an antivirus and you shut it down, you have a problem, Houston.
  • Hint Five: I like this one for finding scammers – Open the profile page of the suspected spammer.  Go to the About tab at the top of that page and look at their “Likes” and especially the “Group Pages” that they belong to. Are they in an unusually large number of groups? Are the groups all over the world?  
Note: Facebook allows friends to add others to groups without permission, so be sure to keep that in mind.  But realize, even if you have 500 friends, most won’t indiscriminately put you in a group you won’t like.  Even so, you might want to periodically purge yourself from groups that you aren’t interested in.  And don’t feel bad about it!

Look closely at the second profile before reporting it or you could inadvertently turn someone’s legitimate second profile to crap. Facebook is none too forgiving (nor should they be), so send a note to your friend’s “original” page rather than to the second requester’s page — because, of course, they’re going to tell you what you hope to hear.

Other Situations To Be Aware Of With A Facebook Page Clone

Spammers don’t want to be discovered. They are like cockroaches in the dark.  They steal profile photos and start a separate profile with a completely different name.  Shine a light on them.  If your personal photos are public, you’re making it easy for them to do their job. Check if others are using your photos easily. (You can do a reverse search of your photos on Google Images by following the instructions HERE.)

More Ways To Tell If It’s A Scammer

Oftentimes the names on a fake profile are gender mixed, like Velma Gerard or William Ashley – and the images posted are one sex, while (in the About Section) it indicates the person is of another sex or Facebook may say “her birthday” when it’s allegedly “male”.

Usually these “friends” quickly follow the “Liker” with a quick request for a chat that escalates into inappropriate or abusive behaviors, or several polite chats followed by a request for money.  Don’t go there! Report this profile immediately to Facebook and block them!  This is an obvious Facebook page clone.

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

I ran into one I had never seen before in the 9 years I’ve been using Facebook: I reviewed a potential new friend and found assorted spam on her page. There were sunglasses lines, clothing… and then, the big one: human trafficking.  How did that look?

The profile contained an “advertisement” allegedly for a specific brand of high-end beads.  It also contained very poor quality images of young (some VERY young girls) of differing ethnicity.  They were in inappropriate dress for this particular jewelry bead advertisement.  It also included “price” and a URL in the comment above the image to “order” from. I think most of us who are familiar with this jewelry line know that this would not be advertised in ANY country this way.

Facebook page clones have many reasons for trying to attach to your page

Human Trafficking? Malware or Virus? Certainly, a hacked page.

(Print Screen from my laptop of prospective friends’ profile page with advert that appears to lead to possible human trafficking.  This image was one of the “older” and more appropriately dressed girls. The other 2 were from a different user profile, though they were on the same friend’s page and have now been deleted.)  

You know what I’m going to tell you – it is another Facebook page clone, but this is truly evil! This is one younger kids starting on the Internet should be warned about!

And What Else Might Happen?

Clicking on the link could create a few situations to alert you– The first, most obvious situation is the potential of having malware or a virus installed so that when you click you automatically installed it onto your computer. If you don’t have a firewall or antivirus program, it can potentially gain access to your computer, your personal data and that of all your Facebook friends. A Facebook page clone then becomes a transmitter to your computer, your computer becomes a zombie computer, at someone else’s control.

In the case above, the person who sent the advertisement to the other profile hacked  the advertisement, creating a malware or virus code.  These ads distributed to Facebook friends who have open friend lists. She needs to delete all the posted comments she can find on her profile (and that isn’t easy unless someone tells her about them).  Your friend should change her password and finally she needs to try to locate the source, and then advise her friends, report the fake profile to Facebook, then “unfriend”, delete and block the profile so there will be no further contact.

Scammers Are Show-Offs

I also want to address the blatant showmanship that so many “friend scammers” use.  A few years ago, a notable and highly respected Major General of the USA had several images stolen off the Internet. His name was used to make the profiles appear legitimate.  Then, the scammers continued to use his images in faked profiles with alternate names. The same name attempted to “friend” me tonight…

Ejabena Monday is the name used. If you research on Facebook, Bing and Google, you will find several mock ups with that name.  Every one of these profiles on review appear faked.  The images are all stock-type head shots, in one case a disc jockey. In another case, a doctors’ photo appears.  In another, a young African man. Others have no photos at all.  I daresay that every one of these profiles are fakes/spoofed or created just to get data from other Facebook users.

Facebook page clone lookup shows some of the alias/cloned pages in one name

Facebook page clone lookup shows some of the alias/cloned pages in one name

(From Google Search for queried name “Ejabena Monday”)

You Wouldn’t Do That To A Friend!

Often, page cloners from other countries will make mistakes in gender continuity

Gender errors are commonly made by Facebook page cloners and scammers

Look at every friend request!  

Take at least 1 full minute to review the profile for legitimacy. Do they interact with people on the page and in messages?  Do they sound like an appropriate friend?  Are other “friends” mostly female (or mostly male-there is a lot of solicitation involved) or often even a specific hair color/eye color?  Those who create Facebook profile clone pages take for granted that you won’t look at their request.

Does the gender match? 

Look at the picture on the profile, then look to see if this Facebook friend is really male or female (see image above).

Is it a celebrity?

Maybe it’s a high-ranking military or police officer, or highly paid professional sort (doctor, attorney, etc.) who is honestly not all that likely to friend you or is it completely random? If they are not in your local area, you might want to rethink that friendship.  A Facebook page clone appreciates that we are stroked by vanity when someone important or a celebrity asks us to be a friend.

If it is a friend you know who already has a profile, ASK.

Go to your real friend’s ORIGINAL profile if this is a valid request.  Or call or text them.  Hey, they’re a friend, right?

They say they’re widowed?

I doubt it. This is a sympathy ploy.  You could ask them, but that requires trust.  If you DO trust them, you better have a good firewall/antivirus in place first, because afterward will be too late.  If you do ask them, ask them on THEIR page, don’t ask in a private message.  That is your space, not one for a Facebook page clone.

Verify, report, and then BLOCK.  

Do not take for granted there is any truth in the page.  If none of your friends knows this person one-on-one, delete the request and block the requester.  Hey, be even nicer.  Warn your friends who accepted this “friend”. 

Don’t accept a new friend just because he or she has 10 of the same friends as you.  

Many people accept a Facebook friend and don’t take the time to “do a background check”.   Those who create a Facebook page clone know this.  Like defensive driving, you must watch out for the other guy.

If a fool and his (or her) money is soon parted, be safe. Block so you can keep yours.

Scammers are actors and they make their living lying.  Don’t Ever Give Money.  Not Ever!  Not even if they say their life depends on it.  It’s their end game! If you believe the convincing word of a Facebook profile clone, you are one of the Barnum’s best suckers–“one born every minute”.

How new or old is this profile?  

If it’s brand new profile and a “for real person”, then they should first like their “for-real and in-person friends”, right?  Isn’t that what you did when you started playing on Facebook?  We added our close friends and family to build up our page and to learn how to use it, then we added other people from work, new acquaintances and old schoolmates that we wanted to reconnect with.  But if they have 40 friends and one of them is you…  you should start asking questions or report/block that profile.

Be sure to double-check your profile settings, then check them again.

  • Under your Settings: Privacy tab, where it asks “who can see my stuff?” and “Who can contact me” are options.  Use them!
  • Next, go to Settings: Timeline & Tagging and read through the settings.  Adjust them to what works best for you.  Test them and make sure they work the way you expect them.
  • Go to the  Settings: Blocking and review those periodically.  The names there mean you are protecting yourself and your friends.  Keep up the good work!

Finally

Every day, opportunity and opportunists bombard us.  Take the time to work through what is legitimately good, real and right, and what can hurt you.  Scammers have an Internet between them and you, and usually at least a half a world.  They aren’t worried about the law catching up to them.  They’ll just move on to something or someone else so it’s up to you to protect yourself and your family from these individuals. Beware the Facebook page clone.

Connie Spicer is a Vero Beach Florida geek and multiple business owner. She encourages micro and small business owners to step outside their normal routines, take a chance on new technology and knowledge. She coaches local small businesses, public speaking topics: “Marketing on a Shoestring Budget”, “Building Your Business with Technology” and others.  
Her interest in music brought her and husband, David Spicer, into the mobile DJ industry in the new millenia, where they also produce video and audio for business websites, and continue performing at specialty and charitable events.
Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Periscope under handle cnstarzchannel or subscribe to her website ConnieSpicer.com.