Facebook social media scam could lead to identity theft - KCTV5

Facebook social media scam could lead to identity theft

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A social media scam on Facebook could lead to identity theft for users and their friends. (KCTV5) A social media scam on Facebook could lead to identity theft for users and their friends. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A social media scam on Facebook could lead to identity theft for users and their friends.

Facebook cloners steal a user’s name and photos to create a fake profile. They then try to connect with that person’s entire friend list, pretending to be the victim.

Pretending to be the victim, cloners try to manipulate those Facebook friends into sharing private information or sending money.

Facebook cloners targeted Garner resident Ginny Rich.

Family and friends noticed the red flag, finding it odd that Rich, someone they were already friends with on Facebook, had sent a second friend request. They reported the fake profile and Facebook quickly took it down.

“In my case, I'm just lucky that I had friends that notified me fast and I had a son that gets on top of that stuff very fast so. That helps a lot,” said Rich.

KCTV5 spoke with tech expert with Integral Burton Kelso about the Facebook cloning.

“They'll try to spam or email message your friends in order to phish or lure them into getting involved in some internet scheme,” said Kelso.

It’s a fishing scam, in which the scammer plots to steal private information and money.

They may claim the victim is trapped in a foreign country and needs money to get out of trouble. Thinking they’re talking to someone they know, they may agree to “loan” the money.

They might even use the illusion of friendship to collect personal and financial information to commit identity theft.

“You really need to check out the friend requests that you get, make sure that the profile is complete, make sure it has information and make sure it has a history,” said Kelso.

Kelso recommends going into your Facebook settings to make everything as private as possible, including your photos and your friends list.

He also advises changing your profile picture and cover photo every three to six months to help your friends be better able to tell whether it’s you or a Facebook faker.

There are serious consequences if a hacker succeeds in impersonating a user and manipulating their friends. Rich is thankful her Facebook impersonator didn’t get that far.

“Get a job. Do something with yourself,” she laughed. “That's the only thing they got going on in their life is to hack somebody else's Facebook page? It makes no sense to me.”

Here are some instructions for how to report suspicious activity on Facebook:

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