A reader needs some help:
“Someone stole my identity on Facebook and is using my profile picture. They are contacting friends and asking for money. Is there any way to stop this?”
I’ve addressed what to do about a Facebook fake before, but since it keeps happening let’s go over what you can do again.
When crooks clone an account, they steal a picture of you and your name. Then they immediately begin sending out friend requests. Where did they get your name? They could be browsing around looking for names or you or some of your pals might have clicked on one of those fake coupon scams I’m always warning you about and given crooks access to your friends list. You don’t have to be the person who fell for the scam. One of your friends may have given a crook access to a list with your name on it.
What happens if someone accepts a fake friend request. Well, nothing drastic. It doesn’t magically give them access to your account. What normally goes down is that you’ll receive a message from that person. They’ll tell you about some government grant scheme or phony diet aid that’s changed their life. Or they’ll say that they are in desperate need of money.
Sometimes people think a pal or relative is really in trouble and send the cash. Here’s what to do if you get one of these fake requests. You can ignore it. But it’s always nice to let your actual friend know what’s going on so they can warn friends not to fall for it.
I like to report these scams immediately. Here’s how:
Instead of accepting or deleting the friend request, choose the three-dot menu for more.
Choose Give feedback or report this profile.
I selected Pretending to be someone but Fake account would be accurate as well.
Then it asked who the faker was pretending to be. Type in the friend’s name (or your name if it’s you.)
You’ll be able to select from your current friends list.
Facebook will then look into the account. They are usually removed within a day or two.
To report a fake message, your friends can click the gear icon in the message window.
Choose Something’s wrong.
Choose Pretending to be someone.
In my experience, Facebook does a pretty good job of removing these people.