Archive for September 5th, 2014

September 5, 2014

Let’s Be Careful Out There

This was one of my favorite lines from the 70’s police show, Hill Street Blues. In every episode, they would use this tagline at the morning roll call. I thought it would be a fitting title to use, in light of celebrity photos being hacked and Home Depot’s data breach. You have to be careful with your information on the internet. This brings me to my real subject, 3rd party cloning of personal Facebook pages.

I know I normally write about business pages on Facebook; but, the two are related since your business page is tied to your personal page. Let me explain how this cloning works. Let’s say John Doe has a Facebook page and the url is All someone has to do to create a cloned Facebook page is grab some images from John Doe’s page and then select the same url and add a number to the end. Here is how the new url would look  Pretty simple, right?

Here comes the really bad part. That person now has a page that, on the surface, looks like John Doe’s. Now they can start sending out “Friend Requests” to all John’s friends. Guess what? 90+% of his friends will accept this request with question because they feel like it is coming from a trusted source. Many will accept the request first and then ask why he has started a new page. The response will be something along the lines of they got a virus on their other page (which actually makes no sense.) I’m sure their lies will get better.

So, now you may be wondering, why would someone do this? Well, it’s part of an internet scam. Shortly after you accept the friend request, you will receive a message from the impostor. It will be a little small talk at first; but, when he gets a chance, he will start to tell you about the new government internet plan. It’s a scam…don’t buy it! (Click Image of Facebook Chat)Be Careful Out There  Image 2

Please note the person who has been cloned can’t see the page because they have been blocked from the page by the impostor. As friends start to question the imposter, they may be blocked also. People who are blocked can’t report the site for stolen identity.

So What Can You Do?

  • Check your security settings so that images and other important facts about you are hidden and only visible to friends.
  • Be careful who you accept “Friend Requests” from, even if you know them and especially if you are already friends with them on Facebook.
  • If your page gets cloned, let all your friends know as soon as possible and post a warning on your page.
  • Since you are blocked from the impostor’s page, you are unable to use the “…” tab to notify Facebook that your identity has been stolen. You will have to click on the down arrow on the top right of your page and then click “Help.” At the bottom of that menu, select “Report A Problem” or “Report A Violation.”
  • If you can get a friend to take a screen shot of the scam like the one above, you can attach it when you report the cloned page.
  • Also be sure to include the url of the cloned page.

I certainly hope this doesn’t happen to you, and remember “Let’s be careful out there.”