A great question that arose recently when a buddy of mine sent me a Facebook friend request. While I would love to be their friend on Facebook, the problem was that I was already friends with them on Facebook.
In fact, the day before I received the “request” we had lunch together and had discussed some of the photos of his recent vacation that he had posted on Facebook. Since I was already Facebook friends with him, I knew it was a fake Facebook friend request notification likely from a fake Facebook account.
Essentially, it was a Facebook friend request hack where someone had copied a bunch of public data from his real Facebook profile, created a new account and then started issuing friend requests to the people that Facebook showed publicly as his friends.
Likely, this person was working a Facebook friend request scam with the goal of harvesting as much personal data as possible and possibly even tricking some folks out of their hard earned cash. If you are getting friend requests from existing friends on Facebook, you might be seeing the same type of scamming behavior.
So, knowing that this “person” was a Facebook scammer, the question became:
How do I report someone on Facebook who has sent me a fake Facebook request from a friend who I am already friends with?
Most us us don’t intuitively know how to report a scammer on Facebook, so I did a little digging. Luckily, it’s a fairly straight-forward to , so I’ll walk you through the process.
NOTE: This process is for reporting a fake Facebook account that has been created in someone’s name, also known as a fake Facebook profile. If, however, you think that an account has been hacked and you need to report a Facebook hack, the steps are pretty similar. Read along and you’ll see how to report a Facebook hack.
This same process also works if you feel that a user is engaged in some kind of fraud and you need to know how to report a scammer on Facebook. If you have an issue beyond what the reporting tool can accomplish, here are some extra steps on how to contact Facebook support when you need help.
If someone has created a fake Facebook profile in your name, you might wonder “how do I report a fake Facebook profile of me” and have it taken down. Read on, these steps can apply in that situation, as well.
First Off…What Is A Facebook Friend Request?
For anyone who isn’t really familiar with Facebook or is new to the social network (yes…new people join every day), a Facebook friend request is simply an invitation to connect to another user on the network. Maybe it’s a friend, family member, work colleague, etc…but it’s just anyone who wants to build a connection.
If you’re new and wondering how to send a friend a request on Facebook, you would simply use the Search feature on Facebook and look for their name. Once you find them, click the “Add Friend” icon and an invitation will be sent to the person requesting to become a friend on Facebook.
Keep in mind that friendship on Facebook is a two-way street. The person who you sent a friend request to must accept that request in order to create the relationship.
If the person doesn’t accept your friend request, then you can still add their public posts to your Facebook feed by following them. You can learn more about following someone on Facebook in this post.
Legitimate Facebook friend requests usually aren’t the problem. It’s the fake friend requests that we should worry about. These are folks who are either fake accounts and it’s a good idea to report fake Facebook accounts.
Should I Even Care If A Scammer Sends Me A Fake Facebook Friend Request Or Has A Fake Facebook Profile?
You absolutely should care, but only if you like your privacy and security of your personal information!
Why should you care about these types of fake Facebook profiles? Because they could be used to harvest personal data from your friends or family members…and eventually you.Not only should you care about that fake Facebook friend requests you just received, you should report it. Here's how! Click To Tweet
Imagine this scenario:
- Joe Scammer creates a Facebook account with data harvested from your sister’s Facebook profile.
- Next, Joe Scammer sends a fake fb friend request to your brother, who is confused…but accepts the friend request anyway.
- Now, Joe Scammer can see all of your brother’s private information that was previously only accessible to his friends, because of his Facebook settings.
- Since he has access, Joe Scammer can now comb through your brother’s data and find out information like the names of his spouse, kids, where he works, where he lives, etc…
- Being the nefarious cur that he is, Joe Scammer can use that information to attempt to hack your brother’s personal data.
- Anyone who is friends with your brother, who also has their privacy settings set to show data to “friends of friends” is now open to the scammer to start data harvesting.
As you can see, every person that accepted Joe Scammers Facebook friend request not only exposed their personal data to a scammer, they potentially exposed their friends to future scams, as well.
OK…So If I Want To Report A Fake Facebook Friend Request, How Do I Do It?
Naturally, I didn’t want this scammer using the fake Facebook profile to scam others into friending it and then harvesting their private user data, so I went on the warpath to get this fake profile removed. The process of I figured documenting the steps would help others that run into this situation in the future.
Step 1 – Validate That It Is A Fake Facebook Profile
If you received a F the first step is to double-check to see if you are already friends with them or still friends with them. Getting ,
Things happen, they might have accidentally unfriended you, but now they have decided that they want to be friends again.
Or maybe they unfriended you over a heated political discussion (we all know it happens) but now want to smooth things over.
Either way, the first step is to confirm that you are actually already friends. If you see them in your friends list, then you know you are already friends and the new request is fake.
Fake Facebook Requests Are Your Enemy! If someone can get you to accept the friend request, then they can see all your contact information (including your phone number if you make it available to your friends). They can then monitor your posts for information about your kids, your location, etc…Then, they can try to set you up for a scam because they know a lot about you.
Gross, right? Right!
But all the more reason to report the fake account.
Checking To See If You Are Still Friends On Facebook
If you have received a he way to check to see if they are still your friend on Facebook is to:
1) Log in to Facebook.
2) Click your profile photo in the upper-left corner.
3) Click “Friends” in the navigation just below you cover photo
4) In the Search box, type your friends’ name. Be sure that you spell it correctly.
If you see your friend in the list of people that you are friends with, then it’s likely that the “friend request” or “Messenger request” is a fake profile.
Note: Be sure that you are checking the possible derivatives of their name. If their name is Becky, be sure to check to see if they use Rebecca as their Facebook name.
Contacting Your Friend And Asking About The Account
It’s possible that your friend can’t get into their old Facebook account and can’t reset the password, so they are just creating a new account. If that’s the case, and they confirm that they sent you a friend request then it’s okay to accept their request and add them as a new friend.
Just be aware that you will have two entries in your friends list with the same name, so when you tag them or message them, be sure you’re using the correct account.Before you report what appears to be a fake Facebook friend request, contact your friend to make sure it is fake. Click To Tweet
Step 2 – How To Report A Fake Facebook Account
So, what do I do with this fake friend request? The first thing you do is DO NOT ACCEPT IT!!! If you think this is a Facebook friend request hack then the last thing you want to do is give them any additional access to your information.
The next thing you do is report it to Facebook. To report the account as fake, following these steps:
Reporting A Fake Facebook Account
1) Click on the name or profile photo of the fake account. It won’t hurt anything if you are just viewing their profile.
2) Copy the link to the fake profile. At this point, it’s a good idea to send a message to your real friend via email or Facebook Messenger to let them know that someone is impersonating them. Let them know that they can report the person and have Facebook review the account. You can even send them a link to this article to let them know how to report the scammer.
3) The next step is to report the fake profile to Facebook. The more people that report it, the more serious Facebook will take the incident. Since you are already on the scammer’s fake profile, click the three dots next to the “Message” button and from the menu, choose “Give feedback or report this profile”.
3) After clicking that link, you will be asked to indicate why you are reporting the profile. Click “Pretending To Be Someone” since this scammer is impersonating your friend.
NOTE: You can use this exact same form for a variety of different purposes. If an account is completely made up, is posting things that are inappropriate, or harassing you this form is how you would report it. If, though, you feel that the person is putting you in immediate danger you should call the police, don’t wait for Facebook to help.
4) Once you click that, it will ask who the scammer is pretending to me. Click “A Friend”.
5) Click “Send” in the lower-right corner.
NOTE: If this is someone slightly different than just a fake Facebook friend request and feels more like a Facebook scam or a some type of fraud, then you can chose the option that makes most sense for your specific situation.
6) Finally, the message box will have you search for the friend who the scammer is trying to impersonate. Search for your friend and then click the radio button to the right of their name. Click Next and Facebook will confirm the receipt of your fraud request.
7) The last step is to block the scammer. Click the link to “Block ______”, where _____ is the friend’s name. You are not blocking your real Facebook friend. You are only blocking the scammer who is using their name.
8) The message box will ask you to confirm that you want to block the person. Click “Ok”.
9) Once you have blocked the fake account, you will see the message box change to show that the account is blocked.
10) Click “Done” and the dialog box will close.If received a suspicious Facebook friend requests and want to research and report it, here are the steps. Click To Tweet
Step 3 – Go On With Life And Wait For Facebook To Respond
Whether you know it or not, you have a Support Inbox with Facebook. Everyone has one, but most people don’t know it exists.
Whenever you open a support ticket with Facebook, they generate a ticket and you can monitor any updates to that ticket in your support inbox. To view your inbox, just go to https://www.facebook.com/support or click the question mark icon in the upper-right corner and choose “Support Inbox from the dropdown menu.
You should see a ticket regarding your report of the fake Facebook profile. As you can see, Facebook basically acknowledges my ticket and let’s me know if there are any questions or next steps.
NOTE: As you can imagine, Facebook support receives a LOT of fake friend request reports every day. Scammers are constantly trying to use the platform to harvest data and even scam people out of money. If you don’t hear back from Facebook in a timely manner, don’t worry. If you haven’t already done so, though, let your friend know that there is someone out there pretending to be them so they can be vigilant and watch for fake accounts. It’s a good idea to have them go through the process of reporting and blocking the account, as well.
Step 4 – Continue With Your Vigilance
Believe it or not, with all Facebook’s fancy algorithms and privacy/security settings, the best defense against spammers is actual the user community. That’s you and me.
That means when we see scammers, we need to do more than just ignore them, but to take proactive steps to report them and get them booted off the network. The more we report, the faster Facebook can give them the boot and the safer Facebook will be.
What If One Of My Facebook Friends Tells Me Someone Has Created A Fake Profile Of Me?
The process is the same and you should definitely report the fake Facebook profile. Ask any friends or family to report the fake Facebook account that is impersonating you. The more reports that Facebook receives about a fake Facebook profile, the more seriously they will take it.
How Big Is The Problem Of Fake Facebook Accounts?
It’s big. Really big.
In fact, the fine folks at Social Catfish pulled together an amazing infographic that helps demonstrate where fake social media accounts come from, how to spot them, the numbers around their growth, and a little bit of data regarding what the big networks are doing to crack down on them.
In reality, though, it’s up to us as users to report these scammy accounts when we see them.
And One More Thing
If you’re reading this post, it likely means you were contacted by a scammer using a fake Facebook account. Now might be a good idea to think a little more about your own online security and do the following:
1) Change your passwords – Update those passwords for your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and other big social networks. Be sure you are using strong passwords.
2) Check your Facebook privacy settings and think about where you are accessing Facebook. Run a privacy check to make sure your Facebook content is protected. Additionally, think twice about using public WiFi if you aren’t using a VPN.
3) Review your Facebook friends list – Do you really want to be friends with all those folks? Maybe this is a good time to pare down that list fo friends. By doing so, you could reduce the potential number of security breaches that could happen, exposing your personal data.
I hope that helps! Anything we can do to help keep Facebook free from fake profiles is a step in the right direction. If you have another way to battle or report these fake Facebook profiles, please let me know in a comment. I’d love to hear how others are handling them.