When you see a post like this in your Facebook feed, "WARNING: My account has been hacked. Do not accept Friend Requests from me!" it is probably, the work of The Doppelganger. One simple change can stop this hack from being successful.
The Doppelganger is a very common type of Facebook Hacker. His purposes range from financial to sinister. While he might be planning a complete takeover of your identity, he is most likely trying to steal information from you and your friends.
Basically this crook has stolen your name, images, and created his own Facebook account which at first glance looks identical to yours. If you haven't hidden your list of friends, he will send Friend Requests from his new, fake account to all of your friends!
While there are ways to spot this sort of fake account, many people will say, "Hmm, thought I was already friends with her" as they click Confirm. Boom, the thief just got access to all of that person's friends' accounts. Unless of course, the list was hidden.
If 10% of your 300 friends confirm the fake request, then the Doppelganger gets access to the unsecured friends lists of those 30 friends. The amount of this pirate's booty grows exponentially very quickly! Even worse, he's probably using software to automatically send Friend Requests, as well as copy information from your friends' accessible data. He can sell the data or use it for stealing identities.
In a future post, we will look at how data thieves use information from your Facebook account to steal your identity.
Also, we will post instructions so you will know what you should do if you have an impostor posing as you.
Another blog post will help you determine if that new Friend Request is fake or real, but first, let's make sure your Friends are safe.
Here are the steps to set up your Facebook account so only you can view your friends.
Click on your name in the Facebook menu bar as highlighted in yellow below.
Click on the Friends tab under your Cover Photo as highlighted below.
Click the pencil icon on the far right side under your Cover Photo and select Edit Privacy as highlighted below..
Click Only Me then click Done in the lower right corner of the window as highlighted below.
That's it! No one can see your list of friends except you. Booty secured and the thief moves on to someone more vulnerable with a visible list of friends.
One "fly in the ointment" is some people want their Friends to be able to see their other Friends. If you're an up-and-coming novelist and Stephen King is your Friend, no one will be able to verify your claim if you choose Only Me.
Rather than selecting Only Me, you could choose Friends or Friends except Acquaintances from the Edit Privacy menu to reduce the number of people who can view your Friends list.
I choose Only Me because if one of my Friends accidentally gives a hacker access to her Friends list and the crook tries to become my Doppelganger, he won't be able to easily get a list of my Friends. And besides, Stephen King hasn't confirmed my Friend Request yet.
We welcome your comments and questions below.