First – don’t overly worry, most likely you weren’t “hacked”. Meaning someone didn’t have to steal your Facebook password or anything like that.
Scammers will do this sometimes. They send you a friend request which you accept. Then, if your friend list is visible, they will save your profile image. They open a new account with “your name” and use your profile image. Then they will send friend requests to all of the friends on your list.
See how to prevent this in the future below.
There are a few reasons they do this. The most common is that they want to spam all of your friends with ads. Or post “click bait” things to get people to click, and sometimes that can take them to a site infected with a virus.
A more sinister reason is for what we call social hacking. Social hacking is impersonating who is directly or indirectly known to the victims, done through pre-meditated research and planning to gain victims’ confidence. Social hackers take great measures to present overtones of familiarity and trustworthiness to elicit confidential or personal information.
So you may not be the end target. Or you might. This fake account may start interacting with your friends to learn as much as possible about you in order to find out information that may let them access your real Facebook, your email, your home address, your bank accounts … etc.
How you can help prevent someone making a fake Facebook profile of you:
Basically – if they can’t access your friend list, your account will be less appealing. Not always, but for the most part.
- Click on your name on the top right to go to your own Timeline.
- Click the Friends tab.
- Click the Pencil icon on the right, and choose Edit Privacy
- Under Friend List, for who can see your friend list, either choose custom settings, or if you aren’t sure how to do that, choose “only me”.
The very first thing you want to do if you find that someone has impersonated you is report the fake profile. Then ask your friends to do so as well. Having the link to the exact imposter profile will help here. Facebook is usually good, and quick, taking care of removing imposters.
Search for related posts on other ways to lock down your Facebook privacy.