Home Lifestyle Facebook fraudsters now using “profile cloning” to dupe people

Facebook fraudsters now using “profile cloning” to dupe people


The fraudsters are using Facebook profiles to coax money out of friends.

A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone. File picture: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
File picture: Reuters

The fraudsters have devised a new mechanism to dupe people by using their Facebook profiles to coax their friends for money.

By Zafar Abbas

New Delhi – The fraudsters have devised a new mechanism to dupe people by using their Facebook profiles to coax their friends for money.

The modus operandi of the fraudsters involves cloning of the Facebook profile of an individual and then sending ‘friend requests’ to the friends and relatives of the individual, who are there in his friend list.

In case any of the friends accepts the ‘friend request’ thinking that it is the individual, the fraudsters start demanding money from his friends and relatives on the pretext of some urgency. The fraudsters also provide an account number to transfer the amount. And, if the money is transferred, the friend or relative is thus duped on the individual’s name.

Sometimes, the good relationship with friends refrain them from immediately making a call to verify the credentials in times of ‘urgent need’ as portrayed by the fraudsters. Many transfer the amount thinking it to be a genuine emergency and feeling that by giving a call, it might reflect badly on their friendship. However, when they give a call casually after some days, then they get to know that they were duped.

Many cases have cropped up where fraudsters have struck with similar modus operandi.

“Someone created a Facebook profile in my name and started asking money from my relatives and friends in my friend list,” said Nagendra Gupta, a Delhi resident.

Many have raised SOS messages to alert their Facebook friends that their profile has been cloned.

“It has come to my notice that some anonymous person is asking for money under my name, and that individual is asking for money using my profile picture. Kindly ignore such messages, I have only one account on Facebook,” alerted Mukesh Kayathwal, a Jaipur resident.

Not just Facebook, even duplicate email IDs with a minor unnoticeable difference are created by the fraudsters, and emails are sent to your known contacts that could be easily accessed through the Facebook profile friend list.

Last year, Former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha approached the Delhi Police, informing them that he was duped of Rs one lakh by a man who accessed his friend’s email account and sent him an email seeking money for medical treatment.

Now the question is how could one be more cautious and can this fraud of ‘Facebook Profile cloning’ or Duplicate profile on Facebook be checked by taking certain precautions? The Delhi Police seem to have found an answer.

“Be cautious while sharing personal information on Facebook. Keep your friend list private. If you wish to share close-up photos, do only with friends. Keep WhatsApp DP private and visible only to contacts. This will help prevent frauds from attempting through impersonating accounts,” said Anyesh Roy, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cyber Crime.