Hacked or Cloned on Facebook? The Difference and the prevention

We have all heard of, or have been hacked yourself. Here is the the 411 on being hacked and cloned. We give you the difference and how to prevent this from happening.

If you’ve been on Facebook for more that 5 minutes you’re presumably painfully aware that hackers and scammers love attacking Facebook users. They employ a with a wide range of deceitful tactics.

I’m certain you’ve seen an intermittent “Yikes – I’ve been hacked!” post fly up in your newsfeed. Truth be told, you most likely observe them all the time.

The thing is, a large number of the people who believe their Facebook account has been “hacked” weren’t. Generally, in most cases their accounts have been “cloned” instead.

While the hacking and cloning of Facebook accounts are both infuriating. They are actually very different things which require very different responses when one of them happens to you.

Hacked or Cloned – Whats The Difference?

When somebody “hacks” your account they actually assume control of your account.

Some hackers break into an account by guessing or stealing the password. Others gain access by tricking the victim into either giving them the password via a malicious link in a phishing email or installing a malicious app.

In any case, the outcome is the same: When somebody hacks into your Facebook account he can do anything with the account that you can do yourself.

For example, the hacker can post on your Timeline to spam your friends with bogus offers and send them links to click for planting malware onto their own PCs. He can also send out friend requests to people you don’t even know in order to grow your friends list and expand the pool of people he can potentially scam.

In short, having your account hacked results in the hacker “becoming you” on Facebook. When your friends receive spam, nasty IMs and other garbage in their newsfeeds, it will appear that you are the culprit who is sending it out.

Now, lets talk about getting “cloned”…

Unlike getting hacked, your Facebook account gets “cloned” when a scammer creates a brand new account in your name.

Once the new account is created, the scammer will copy the personal info that’s on your real account’s “About” page to the fake account. Next, he will download some of the photos you have posted on the real account and upload them to the fake account.

Once those tasks have been completed the scammer will post a series of status updates similar to the ones you usually post yourself, then “like” a few of the same pages that you have “liked” from your real account.

When all is said and done, the “cloned” account looks a lot like your real one. The scammer can then use the fake account to send friend requests to everyone on your real account’s friends list.

Some of your friends will be skeptical when they receive the bogus friend request and simply ignore it, but inevitably a good portion of your friends will accept it because they believe it to be legit.

Once the fake account has a few dozen of your friends aboard, the scammer will send friend requests to people you don’t even know to fill up the fake account’s friends list (which of course expands the pool of potential scam victims).

The Important difference

The important thing to understand is that when your Facebook account gets cloned, it has not been hacked. The scammer never has actual control of your real account and he cannot use it to do anything other than read your posts and look at your photos.

Now that you understand the difference between having your account “hacked” and having it “cloned”, you need to know what to do to if one of them ever happens to you.

As in sports, the best defense is a good offense when it comes to protecting your Facebook account from hackers. It’s actually a lot easier to prevent a successful hack on your account than it is to clean up the mess after it has actually been hacked.

Preventing Your Account From Being Hacked

This post discusses several things you can do to prevent your Facebook account from getting hacked.

While there are steps you can take to prevent your account from getting hacked, there is really very little you can do to prevent a scammer from cloning your account.

Setting the default privacy level of pretty much everything on your account to “Friends Only” will limit the number of people who can read your posts and the info on your “About” page and view your photos. That simple settings change would make it a lot less likely that a potential hacker would have access to enough of your info to successfully clone your account.

Also, hiding your friends list from the public will also help prevent your account from getting cloned since a potential scammer won’t be able to see your friends or even know how many friends you have.

The above being said, there’s still a good chance that your Facebook account will get cloned at some point. If that ever happens, you need to report the fake account and also inform Facebook support.

That’s all there is to it. Now you’ll be able to tell when someone has hacked or cloned your Facebook account (and which one it is).

Bonus tip#1: Lock hackers out of your Facebook account by enabling Two-Factor Authentication on it.

Bonus tip#2: Make sure all your photos and videos are set to private and not public, to stop your account from being cloned.

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