How to avoid accepting friend requests from fake or hacked Facebook accounts

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

I get Facebook friend requests from time to time from people I thought I was already friends with.

What? Did they unfriend me and changed their mind? I’ve been there! And I’ve written about how to decide whether or not to friend coworkers.

That happens.

But another thing that happens is that somebody is just trying to impersonate your friend.

That’s easier than ever. By way of test, I went to a friend’s account and then headed over to one of her friends. As you can see we are not connected.

Clicking on his picture allows me to save it:

It’s a similar process with public photos. I can save them too.

Then the scammers take this content to start an account with the same name.

This is not really hacking but commonly called that. It’s really just scamming by saving publicly available content and then repurposing it.

Once set up, they send friend requests to that person’s friends list. The account looks similar to them because it is similar. It’s literally their content on another account.

It takes a bit of paying attention to catch these – especially for people like me who connect with just about anyone – until they are rude and then I knock them out.

It’s our cancel culture, I guess, which can also be overdone. A September Facebook post of mine:

I cancel you more!

Things are out of control.

DM Register reports super old tweets.

Anheuser-Busch walks away from the guy.

Public finds age old tweets from reporter.

Reporter leaves paper.

Snark parody:

Employers search everyone’s social media to see if they posted their rants during work hours.

Cancels employment.

If you leave a dumb comment I’ll cancel that too.

What happened to (Iowa) nice?

Anyway, if you get such a request, be alert. Even when checking Facebook at 2 a.m.

If you think you are already friends, search for the friend’s name and if there are two – problem solved.

A low number of friends on the other account is an indicator too.

Don’t accept the request and do your actual friend a favor: Report the fake profile.

How to report a fake Facebook account

Click on this button on the fake profile homepage:

Then report:

Then pick the right category:

These screen shots are from the mobile app but are similar on desktop.

Also other networks have similar processes.

What are the dangers connecting with a fake Facebook account?

It all depends on what their intent is and what you are using Facebook for.

If you post highly personal information on the network they may try to steal your identity or break into your house once they know you are on vacation.

Or maybe they are just an ex who wants to keep an eye on you.

Either way, creating fake accounts is not cool and we can catch them by paying attention and then reporting them.

Connect with my real Facebook account here. Tell me I invited you here.