If you’ve spent any time on Facebook over the last two months, you may have received an alarming message about your account being cloned. The message claims that a duplicate account is sending out second friend requests and urges you to forward the note to your Facebook friends so they know not to accept it.
The message implies that your Facebook account has been hacked, which is believable considering the September security breach that affected almost 50 million users. But authorities have recently warned that the viral message is nothing but a hoax and should not be forwarded.
The Plaquemines Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness posted an advisory about the bogus note on its Facebook page:
https://www.wdsu.com/article/no-your-facebook-account-hasnt-been-cloned/23629282 If you have any questions or concerns…
“Your account isn’t sending duplicate friend requests. And you didn’t receive a request from the person you’re forwarding it to,” the department wrote on Facebook. “You’re simply doing it because the message tells you to. DON’T.”
The message first began circulating on Facebook in October and went viral quickly because of what Facebook officials believe is “an abundance of caution by users,” according to WSYR. One version of the warning making the rounds on Facebook begins: “Hi … I actually got another friend request from you yesterday … which I ignored so you may want to check your account.”
The sender then recommends passing on the message to people on your contact list, writing, “Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears … then hit forward and all the people you want to forward to …. I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!”
Although account cloning is a real security issue, this particular message is bogus, authorities say. Instead of forwarding the note, users should delete and ignore it. “Otherwise, you become one of the reasons why the hoax is spreading so fast,” the Plaquemines Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness advises in its Facebook post.
To minimize the risk of being hacked, though, experts recommend that people change their passwords at least once every three months. Users who suspect spam or security breaches, as well as potential abuse, should report the incident to Facebook.