How to remove a cloned Facebook account

Ever received a Facebook message that says “Please don’t accept any new friend requests from me”? This is a surefire sign that a hacker cloned your friend’s Facebook account. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence that could happen to you. This guide will show you how to identify fake accounts, report them to Facebook, and safeguard your digital identity.

Hackers clone thousands of Facebook accounts each year, posing serious risks to you and your friends. A cloned Facebook account can be used to befriend people you know, posing serious dangers by spreading scam messages for phishing, malicious links, and even defrauding your friends of their money.

A cloned Facebook can severely endanger your family and friends. Learning how to spot, report, and shut down a cloned Facebook account as quickly as possible is vital. Meta makes it easy for anybody to flag an offending account. Keep reading to learn how to swiftly delete a fake Facebook profile and protect yourself and your loved ones.

What is a cloned Facebook account?

A cloned Facebook account is a fraudulent account set up using the name and photos of a real person. The cloned account is usually made to look like a secondary account and is used by the hacker to send friend requests to the victim’s contacts.

If any of the victim’s friends accidentally accept a friend request from the cloned account, the hacker who controls the cloned account can start sending them messages. Hackers use these fake Facebook accounts to scam people by asking them for money or sending malicious links to sites that steal passwords or download malware.

How can you tell if a Facebook account is fake?

If a cloned Facebook account is impersonating you, you will know that it’s fake right away. But what if you suspect a Facebook account is impersonating one of your friends or a family member?

Generally speaking, it is easy to tell that a Facebook account has been cloned. Below, we have included common signs to look out for:

  • Fewer photos: A cloned Facebook account will likely have only a few stolen images from the victim’s real account.
  • Fewer status updates: A cloned Facebook account will probably only have a few posts on its wall. Check these carefully for grammar mistakes or other signs that they are not real (relevance to the actual person, etc).
  • Very small friend list: Most people nowadays understand what a cloned Facebook account is, which is why cloned accounts find it harder to make friends. If you notice that a Facebook account that sends you a request has a small friends list, then it is probably fake.
  • Recent account creation date: A cloned account is likely to have been created recently, so check to find out how long the account has been around.
  • Both accounts appear in search results: If two accounts for the same person appear in search results, then one of them is likely a fake.

If you identify a fake Facebook profile in a friend’s name, contacting your real friends is a good idea to let them know they are at risk. You and the victim (and any other helpful friends) can then flag the cloned account to have it removed.

How to find a cloned Facebook account

The easiest way to detect a cloned Facebook account is to use Facebook’s search feature. Start by entering your name in the search bar. You should find only your account and others sharing your name but with different profile pictures. To further refine your search:

  • Use Filters: Apply location filters to narrow down the search to your area, or use education and work filters to find profiles claiming to be associated with the same institutions or companies as you.

You should find only one account using your pictures when you search for your name. You will also find accounts belonging to people with the same name as you – but different pictures. You can repeat this process of searching for cloned accounts for your close friends or family.

What to do if you suspect a cloned account:

If you find a suspicious account, contact the person it belongs to and ask whether they created it. If the account is a malicious clone, follow the steps below to remove it.

How do I know if my Facebook account has been cloned?

Although you can search for a cloned Facebook account using the method described above, the reality is that most people find out they are being impersonated when they suddenly start receiving messages and emails from concerned friends.

When your Facebook account is cloned, it is likely to be used to contact your friends and family. The hacker will send friend requests to your contacts and some of those people will become suspicious. This leads to those friends contacting the victim.

If you suddenly receive messages from friends telling you that they are receiving messages from you on a secondary account, this means you have fallen victim to a Facebook cloning attack

How to remove a cloned Facebook account

Now that you know how to spot a fake Facebook account, you are ready to remove any offending accounts.

To remove a cloned Facebook account, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Open the profile of the account that has been cloned.
  2. On the main profile page, click three-dot menu button. How to remove a cloned Facebook account - click on three dots
  3. Now click the option that says Find support or report
  4. In the next window, select the option that says Pretending to be someone Report for pretending to be someone
  5. In the next window, select the required option. Choose “Me” if the offending account is cloning your Facebook account – or “A friend” if it is cloning someone you know. Who are they pretending to be
  6. Complete the fraudulent Facebook account removal request by clicking the Submit button. Report fraudulent accounts to Facebook

That’s it! The account has been reported as fake and Meta should remove it soon. To speed up the process, we recommend that you get friends and family to report the account too. The more times it is reported, the faster it is likely to be removed by Facebook.

Remain vigilant and regularly check for cloned accounts to ensure nobody is impersonating you or your loved ones on Facebook.

How to prevent account cloning on Facebook

Although it is impossible to completely remove the potential for a Facebook account to be cloned, there are some things you can do to reduce the likelihood of it occurring to you.

If you change your account to limit its visibility to “friends only,” it will be much harder for hackers to view it and steal publicly available photos. Doing this will also remove your profile from search results, making it harder for hackers to clone your account.

Even using this privacy feature, it is worth remembering that you could inadvertently accept a friend request from a cloned account or somebody posing as a friend of a friend. This is why we recommend carefully considering who you allow into your circles.

Always analyze each friend request you receive and only accept if you’re 100% sure you trust them. This careful approach will further reduce the likelihood of receiving dangerous direct messages or befriending a hacker who decides to clone your Facebook account.

Cloning vs hacking: What is the difference?

A cloned Facebook account is a secondary account that is set up by a hacker using photos and info taken from the user’s real Facebook account. This clone is fully under the control of the hacker.

A hacked Facebook account is a genuine account hijacked by cybercriminals rather than creating a new, fake one. This kind of account takeover is very dangerous because it means the hacker has managed to gain access to a real Facebook account. The hacker can see and modify all the data in the genuine Facebook account and can send messages to your contacts that appear to be sent by you.

Cloned Facebook accounts FAQs

Does Facebook allow cloned accounts?

No. Facebook never allows cloned Facebook accounts and it will remove any account that has been reported as a fake account. The important thing to remember is that many people have genuine secondary accounts, which makes it harder for Facebook to use automatic methods to remove cloned accounts. This is why users must remain vigilant and report any cloned accounts as soon as possible.

Am I responsible for losses incurred from a cloned account in my name?

No. If someone has cloned your account and successfully scammed one of your contacts, you are not responsible. This is a crime that affects both you and your contact.

The person who has suffered from fraud should report the losses to the police and their bank and should attempt to recoup losses using normal legal methods.

You are not responsible for any losses incurred from the scam account because you are also a victim.

Why has Facebook disabled my account?

If Facebook has disabled your account, it could mean that someone has flagged it for suspicious activities. Facebook will disable your account if it believes that the account is acting maliciously or is in breach of its Terms of Service. If your account has been flagged or suspended incorrectly, you will need to take this up with Facebook by contacting support. Meta may require you to provide identification to unblock the account.