Discover your inside story with AncestryDNA®

July 11, 2016

How To Prevent Your Facebook Profile from Being Spoofed

Facebook accounts get spoofed all the time. But what does this mean? Has your account been hacked? Do you need to change your password?

No you have not been hacked. You do not need to change your password, in fact, changing it does nothing to help or stop a spoofed profile.

Spoofing is when someone duplicates your Facebook profile.  It is not the same as hacking. A spoofer sets up a clone of your profile page and sends out Friend Requests to everyone on your friends list. This is not the same thing as actually having your account hacked into and your password stolen. In the case of actul hacking, yes, changing your password is a must.

** If you were spoofed, changing your password does nothing, because your password was not compromised. The spoofer does not have access to your account.**

To help prevent being spoofed, you need to make sure that your list of friends is not public. To make your friends list private make sure you are on your profile page. That is your name, not the word "Home". Click on the word "Friends"

There is a pencil icon top right. Hover your mouse over it and you will see the word "Manage". Click on this and you see "Edit Privacy" Select this and you see a popup window with choices for setting the privacy of your friends list. You can see that mine is set to "only me" That means no one, not even friends I am linked to, can see who else I have as friends.

Setting your friends list to something other than public will make your Facebook account not worth spoofing!

If you were spoofed, or if you accidentally accepted a spoofed account friend request, go to the spoofed page and report it to Facebook then unfriend them. Warn others and warn whoever was spoofed so they can take action too.

Remember to check your Privacy Settings every so often to make sure they are set as you want them to be! You probably don't want all your posts and status updates and photos being available to everyone including search engines, so be alert and be savvy about what it means to have settings as "public" vs "private"


Odon said...

Thank you!

I was spoofed June 19th, 2016. No real problem, but my friends were exposed to some scam schemes and were asked about some personal details. The scammer had copied my profile photo and created a duplicate account.

Fortunately, my friends tracked down the abuser and reported it to FaceBook within an hour.

The FaceBook support team sent me a notice that they had deleted the fake account and blocked the user. Which is to say, they know who spoofed my account.

Thanks for the article.

Steve Hayes said...

A couple of my Facebook friends have had their accounts spoofed, and I warned them about it as soon as I got an ostensible friend request from someone I was already friends with. In two cases, though, my friends had two accounts, because of a lost password, so the "spoofed" account was genuine. You can be sure it's a spoofed account when uncharacteristic messages start appearing.

Changing one's friend list to "private", however, vitiates one of the main uses of Facebook for genealogy. You look for a relative on Facebook, and discover several people with the same name. Which one is yours? You look at their friends list and see people you know are related, and so you ask to be friends with that person. Making your friends list private destroys that possibility. You then have to ask to be friends with someone in order to find out if you want to be friends with them.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Steve there's an easy workaround. You simply send a message to each person who you think might be related. Easy peasy.

Far better to have a bit more work on your part than make your profile easy pickings for spoofers and spammers.

A spoofed account takes advantage, not so much of YOU, but of your friends! It's all about thinking about them and how you can help prevent that from happening.


Crissouli said...

I have included your blog in this week’s Interesting Blogs on Friday Fossicking at

Thank you, Chris

Roy Engle said...

I think i and my daughter got spoofed. Fake friend talked about $30,000 free grant to pay my bills. Hire their lawyer to submit your application.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Roy - you didn't get spoofed. Your friend did if his/her account was cloned/duplicated. But you got scammed. Hope you didn't fall for it!

True Lewis said...

Sometimes I think if you don't use your FB account regularly it's a Target. I can sometimes tell by the last time they post. Someone up at 1am posting multiply pictures in a certain time frame is suspect. I just hope I don't get spoofed. I try to put my name in the search engine just to see who else is ME. Thanks for this post.