Social Media Account Theft & Cloning

Social Media Account TheftPuts Everyone in Your Network at Risk

A rise in social media account theft means that hackers could be using your name to do their dirty work. Scammers go through a lot of work to clone social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites so friends and family can’t tell they aren’t interacting with you. Scammers copy your profile picture and “about us” information; then they mimic your activity. They start sending friend requests to people who often respond in the affirmative because they think the profile comes from you.

Why is Social Media Account Theft so Dangerous?

One obvious danger is to your reputation as a business, individual, or professional. According to a November 2013 news report, one local news anchor was a victim of Facebook cloning. The cloned account contacted his friends to ask for money.

Another danger is to your friends and acquaintances. Users are becoming more aware of social network security, so hackers and fraudsters are getting creative. Users are unlikely to click on links from an unknown source, but are very likely to click on links and suggestions that come from you. Hackers use your image and name to foster trust before sending your friends and acquaintances to websites that might automatically download malware or present other malicious danger.

How to Fight Back

Awareness is the best tool against social media account theft and cloning. Follow these steps to avoid social media account theft:

  • Use privacy settings to limit who has access to your social media information, pay attention when accepting friend requests, and communicate regularly with friends through other means.
  • Be aware of activity that seems odd for your friends and notify them if something seems wrong with their account; ask them to do the same for you.
  • Shred sensitive personal and confidential papers

What other ways do you protect yourself and your business?