GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Most Facebook friend requests come from actual friends, but some are from anonymous people with ulterior motives. And, if you fall for their tricks, it could cost you.
Some hackers are using a tactic called "Facebook Cloning." They steal your Facebook name, add your friends and use your photos to clone your account. Then, they use the fake account to approach your friends and family online.
"Maybe they’re trying to get you to send them money," said Danielle Hatfield, owner of Experience Farm. "However, other scammers are trying to do something a little more nefarious, and that’s steal your identity."
Hatfield says the cloners might even check your statuses to learn to mimic your style of communication.
"When they finally get around to the scam of maybe asking for money, your friends and family will fall for it.," Hatfield said.
Patrick Wright's great aunt fell victim to Facebook cloning.
"I get upset because this is about the third time this has happened," Yvonne Allen said.
A fake account, made to look like Allen's, reached out to Patrick on Facebook Messenger. The user told him they'd received a $50 million grant from the government and wanted to share the news of how others could get their own.
"I didn’t receive anything! If they want to send me $50 million, I’ll take it," Allen laughed.
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Hatfield says, if you come across an account you aren't sure is real, just search it on Facebook to see if you're already friends with that person. If they send you a questionable post or link, give them a call or text message and ask if it's really them. If the account is fake, report it to Facebook immediately.
If your account gets cloned, Hatfield says you should change your password, warn others, and then check your privacy settings to make sure only friends can view your profile.