By now you probably know that Facebook accounts are getting cloned by scammers right and left these days.
Luckily, having a scammer clone your account isn’t as bad as having someone hack into it, but it’s still bad – especially for the people on your friends list.
In case you’re unfamiliar with account cloning, it’s where a scammer creates a completely new Facebook account in your name and populates it with photos and personal information they’ve copied from your real account.
They then use the new fake account to send friend requests to all the people on your real account’s friends list.
And since it appears to the friends receiving the friend requests that they were sent by you, some of them will accept it. This of course results in those friends now also being “friends” with the fake account that was created by the scammer.
Note: This post explains the difference between hacking and cloning accounts in more detail.
Scammers typically try to target accounts for cloning that have a fairly large number of friends, but not always. ANY Facebook account is at risk of being cloned, and that includes YOURS!
Luckily, there’s one simple settings change that can make your account very unattractive to a potential scammer who might be interested in cloning it: Hide your friends list from the public by changing its privacy level to Only me.
Setting the privacy of your friends list to “Only me” makes it an unattractive target for cloning because the scammers wouldn’t know who to send friend requests to from the cloned account. And if a scammer can’t add friends to a cloned account it’s virtually useless to him/her.
If you’d like to greatly reduce the risk of your own Facebook account getting cloned in the future, just follow the steps below that match the device you’re using to hide your friends list from the public.
If you access Facebook via a web browser on a laptop or desktop computer:
1 – Log in to your Facebook account using your preferred web browser.
2 – Click on your name in the upper right-hand corner in order to go to your Timeline.
3 – Click the Friends link.
4 – Click the pencil shaped icon just to the right of the “Find Friends” button.
5 – Click Edit Privacy.
6 – On the line that reads “Who can see your friend list?“, click the down arrow at the far right and select Only me.
7 – Click Done.
If you access Facebook via the Facebook app on a mobile device:
Note: The exact steps required to hide your friends list might vary a bit from the ones below, depending on your version of the Facebook app. If so, use the following steps as a general guide.
1 – Log in to your Facebook account using the Facebook mobile app.
2 – Tap the Menu icon that’s located near the top-right corner of the screen (it looks like three horizontal lines stacked atop one another).
3 – Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy.
4 – Tap Settings.
5 – Tap Privacy Settings.
5 – Scroll down and change the “Who can see your friends list?” setting to Only me.
That’s all there is to it. Now that your friends list is private there’s very little risk that it will ever get cloned by a scammer.
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