What the Tech: How clone scams work

It’s annoying, but what else is going on here, and how do these scams work?
It's annoying, but what else is going on here, and how do these scams work?
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:51 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Facebook scams are on the rise. One of the biggest scams involves bad guys cloning Facebook users’ profiles.

It’s annoying, but what else is going on here, and how do these scams work? Our consumer technology reporter Jamey Tucker has been talking with some of these spammers to see what they’re doing.

Scammers know if they can trick you into believing they’re a friend, they can scam you out of money, and the scams work. But how?

The most common scam is sending messages to the cloned account’s friends. Like the one I got when I accepted a request from someone cloning an aunt’s profile. They sent a message asking how I was doing and that it had been a long time since we spoke. It sounds legit. But the conversation quickly turned to money, claiming they won $25,000 from a grant program and saw my name on a winner’s list, then pressured me to contact someone about it.

That scam likely asked for money in return for more money I’d never receive.

Another common scam is sending a link such as “is this you in a video?” If you click on the video, you’re taken to a spoofed website that asks you to log in to Facebook. If you do, you’re handing over the keys to your Facebook account.

And get this: if you don’t have 2-factor authentication turned on once the scammer logs into your account they can change your password so you can’t sign in. A link can also install malware on your computer.

And then there’s the grandma scam. Friends get a message from the cloned account, posing as grandma or another family member saying they’re in trouble and need money right away. The Better Business Bureau and FTC report the grandma scam is responsible for millions of dollars lost every year. remember the scammer typically blocks the person whose account they’re cloning.

So, if you get messages saying your account has been hacked, ask friends not to just ignore them, but report it to Facebook.

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