I think a current Facebook friend just sent me a friend request on Facebook. How do I know if a friend request on Facebook from a person I know is legitimate?
A recent trend on Facebook is for scammers to fake (spoof) a person’s personal Facebook page and attempt to friend all of the friends of the faked page. The good scammers will steal a profile photo (the head shot) and then also steal the cover photo (the larger top photo on the Facebook page).
What you will see is a friend request pop up in your ‘Friends Request’ area and you will see a name and profile picture of someone that you know and most likely already have on your friend list.
While there have been some times where a person had to redo their profile on Facebook, it is VERY uncommon these days.
The first thing you should do is click to go check out this profile. If there isn’t a cover image (large top photo), and the only post you see is their profile picture, it is time to be cautious.
Next, go to your existing friends list (on your personal profile page, click Friends link, then search for the person with the search box) and see if you find their REAL profile. If you find their old profile, you KNOW the second friend request is fake. If you don’t see their profile in your friends list, then you need to do one more search.
Look for the top white box which will show you your name when on your personal profile page. Click there and search for the person again. See if there are two profiles and if one is real, and the second is fake. Typically though, you won’t get the scammers hitting you if you aren’t a friend of the spoofed account.
What to do? Do NOT friend this account! If you do, unfriend it as soon as you can! Then, on that fake profile page, click the little white box with three dots (on right side of of their cover image area) and go to report this profile. You can report it as someone faking someone you know, and it will ask you to submit to Facebook for review. There is one more step where you can connect to the real profile so Facebook can compare both and dump/delete/ban the fake account.
If you do accept a spoofed friend profile, you might notice them sending you a ‘Hi, How Are You’ message. They are trying to connect with you and eventually ask you to give information out to steal your identity. Some also try to recommend things for you to check out which might lead to you needing to log into that page so you will have your information stolen via those additionally faked external sites.
The best advice, take a few moments to double check any friend request before accepting!
John Young is the founder of Small Town Business Do It Yourself (DIY). You can send questions on social media and website design to John at [email protected]