Social engineering proves an effective shortcut to identity theft.

Who Is It Targeting: Facebook Users

What Is It:  Cloning Facebook Pages has become a popular new trick of the trade for identity thieves.  With this kind of scam, the scammer will take a person’s Facebook page, copy their “about me” section and post their profile picture on a new account, then go about adding your friends and relatives to their new page.  Your relations will usually add them without thinking too much about it because it’s your picture, your name, and your description.  They then use the page as a tool to find out as much about you and/or your friends as possible.  They may even post links to malware or send messages to your friends with bad links in them in order to steal your friend’s information or access their computer.  They will use anything and everything they can gather through this method to commit financial fraud and identity theft.

What Are They After: Personal Information, Contacts, Account Information, PC or Phone Access

How Can You Avoid It:  Always review new friend requests, even if the picture and name are someone you recognize.  Telltale signs of a fraudulent page usually involve few pictures and limited account activity.  Things like not having a cover photo or only a few mutual friends (especially if you know you have many relations in common with this person) are other indicators that the page may be fraudulent.  If you come across a Facebook page that has these red flags, report it to Facebook immediately so they can pull the page down.  You might also send a message to your friend and let them know they’ve been hacked/profiled.

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