If you receive a Facebook friend request from a friend or family member you’re already friends with, don’t click! Here’s what’s likely happening and what you should do to avoid getting scammed.
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Imposters posing as people you know on Facebook
Dating as far back as when social networking websites began, scammers have joined posing as other people, attempting to gain access to your personal or financial information.
Now, the old scam of imposters posing as a friend or family member is back. They’ll even use your contact’s actual Facebook picture and “about” information.
Elizabeth Holton explained in a story for the Better Business Bureau, “I received a request from ‘Linda’ (name changed), a relative I was already friends with on Facebook. Odd, I thought. Perhaps her account was shut down, and she had to start a new profile?”
But according to Elizabeth, her “friend” began asking some questions that were out of the ordinary, and she began to get the feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
Then finally, this friend wrote this to Elizabeth: “I am so happy I got 200,000$ in cash from the National world help company…Did you not get it they have been helping the poor people and Retired,Unemployed, Worker’s, Disable, and people’s like us who are in need of money to make there possible living.”
At this point, Elizabeth knew it was a scam, so she reported it to Facebook and blocked the user.
Read more: Beware of Facebook privacy scam
This scam is happening to everyday Americans, along with celebrities and anyone with a large following — even companies and not-for-profit organizations are at risk. That’s why if you ever see anything on Facebook claiming to be someone you know or a company you’ve heard of, you need to check to make sure the page has a verified badge to be sure!
So if you see a friend request from someone you’re already friends with, or if you become aware of a scammer posing as you, follow the steps below to protect yourself.
How to avoid scammers posing as Facebook friends
- Ask the person. If you’re already friends with someone on Facebook and you see a new profile friend request you, ask the person if they created a new profile. If they did not, you’ll want to let them know about the fake profile so they can let their friends and contacts know that it isn’t them.
- Report the profile. Once you know for sure the profile is fake, delete the request and mark the user as spam. You’ll then need to complete several steps to let Facebook know what kind of scam this is, and if the person is pretending to be you or someone else. You can also report it by following these instructions.
Underhanded scammers will do anything to try to get a hold of your personal information — even going so far as to pose as people you already know. Be sure to always report it — and never accept a friend request posing as someone else!
Read more: Warning: 3 Facebook scams you want to avoid