While Facebook is one of the main forms of entertainment and socialization for people the world over, it has also become prime hunting grounds for many scammers. These fraudsters rely on cloning, a process through which they create fake accounts that mimic the true account of the target. They use a similar name, with similar information and the photos used in the fake accounts are also in the actual accounts of the targets.
These fraudsters then use fake accounts to approach the target’s friends and family, many of whom are unable to differentiate between the real and cloned accounts. In some cases, these friends and family members are defrauded through enticing offers that promise rewards, or by someone pretending to be in a desperate situation and in need of money.
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Facebook cloning has thrived because it is not necessarily hacking. Information obtained from the targets’ accounts is publicly available (you agree to that when you sign up for Facebook), so this act is not technically considered a breach of privacy. It is, therefore, important that reliable measures are taken to prevent such incidents.
While a variety of measures have been proposed to stop or reduce fake accounts due to Facebook cloning, many of them are based on changing the privacy settings of the Facebook account. This is effective to some degree, but it’s not foolproof. What has been proven vital to stopping Facebook cloning, however, are: identity verification, authentication, and proofing.
Identity verification proves that an individual does exist in reality. Authentication is the subsequent process that seeks to confirm, with absolute certainty, that the individual is indeed who they say they are. It utilizes private information, that only the individual in question would know, to authenticate their identity.
Notably, both of these processes rely on extensive online databases of government agencies. Once they are completed, the identity of the individual in question is considered proofed. This would make it impossible for fraudsters and hackers to continue cloning Facebook accounts of unsuspecting targets, and use the accounts to scam the targets’ friends and family. Identity authentication and proofing are bound to solve all these problems in one swift blow.
However, the issue of online identity authentication has long been mired in privacy and security controversies. Until all the kinks can be fully worked out, avoid sending money to anyone online if you’re not sure that person is real and is who they say they are. Whenever possible, call them or send them a text message to confirm their identity. In this way, not only you can report any fake accounts as soon as possible, but you also can ensure you avoid being scammed out of your hard-earned dollars.
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