“You’ve Been Hacked!!!”
If you have a Facebook account, you have inevitably received this message numerous times. This leaves you with the ominous question: “Was I really hacked?”
There are many established tactics attackers use to steal information and ingrain panic in the minds of the average Facebook user. Some tactics include:
- Creating a fake profile using your information.
- Creating a Facebook Messenger profile using fake information.
- Circulating a message that urges a user to send along false information
These tactics inevitably lead to users disclosing personal information that attackers can use in malicious ways. Schemes like this continue to flourish on Facebook, evolving overtime and becoming more devious.
While these tactics can be quite damaging if they succeed, there are some signs that you can look for that can help identify these malicious attacks before they cause any harm.
If you receive a friend request from someone, pay attention to whether you are already friends with them. If you are in fact friends with them, simply message them and ask if they created a new account. If they didn’t create a new account, report the new account as an impersonator to Facebook and move on. There is no need to tell that person “Hey you’ve been hacked.”
If you receive a message from a friend saying “Hi….I actually got another friend request from you which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears, then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too…. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A NEW friendship FROM ME AT THIS TIME.” or a message along those lines, ask that person “Hey, did you actually get a request or message from me?” Typically, the answer will be “No”.
The key to being safe on Facebook is to be aware of what you post and who you interact with. If you come across a message or friend request that seems fishy, it likely is.
For more information on how to be better protected online, visit the NICCS Website.