DENVER -- If you’re a regular Facebook user, there’s a chance you’ve received a “duplicate” friend request. An invitation to connect with a friend or family member, even though you’ve been linked on Facebook for years.
Yet, in some cases, these cloned Facebook accounts are fake. By accepting such requests, your personal information can be easily be shared with hackers.
When Sophia Cole got a duplicate friend request from her boyfriend's father, she became suspicious.
"Apparently there was no picture with it," Cole said.
Soon she received a note that it was fake.
The scheme is simple. You could take anyone’s image, save it and make a fake profile. It can be challenging to find the fraud.
If you accept a duplicate account, your feed could be infiltrated with bogus links that you and your friends could click on, compromising security.
"A lot of malware out there gives the bad guy complete access, they can complete files from your machine, see everything you’re doing, key stroke log," said computer security expert Steve Fox of Security Pursuit in Lafayette.
Experts suggest you look for mutual friends and check to see just how often your so-called friend has been on their page.
Also, when it comes to passwords, longer is better -- at least 16 characters.
"If you had a 48-character-long password that was 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-0 repeated 5 times, I would have a hard time cracking that," Fox said.
Fox adds, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask your friend if the request is legitimate.
For more on Facebook profile scams, log on to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s website.