Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy | How to Block Spam Calls | Snapchat Symbol Meaning

We may earn commissions when you buy from links on our site. Why you can trust us.

author photo

What is Facebook Account Cloning & What Can You Do about It?

by Elizabeth Harper on May 28, 2024

Facebook account cloning is a simple scam – but it’s easy to be fooled by it. A scammer will make a copy or your real account, using your Facebook profile photo and other public information, to trick your friends with scams or spam that seem to be coming from someone they know and trust. A cloned account may convince your friends to send money, collect passwords or other information, or spam them with posts and messages for sketchy sites. For example, the cloned account could message your friend saying they need cash to handle some emergency – like, being mugged and needing funds to get back home.

You may think your friends are too smart to fall for a scam like that, but because these requests come from you, they may respond without thinking. That's why I recommend double-checking any new Friend requests from people you're already Friends with of Facebook before accepting. If you're friends in real life, they won't mind you contacting them outside of Facebook to confirm.

The good news is that account cloning isn’t a hack or an exploit – your Facebook password is still safe and your account hasn't been compromised. But being the source of scams and spam for your friends is probably not the position you want to be in. So, I have advice for how to tell if your account has been cloned and, more importantly, how to prevent it from being cloned in the first place.

Phone held in hand showing the Facebook Profile Settings page showing the option to report profile. .

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

You can search Facebook for your name to see if there are other accounts pretending to be you, but this often isn't very helpful. Someone else on Facebook likely legitimately shares your name. While you can do this to look for duplicates, not every result will be someone maliciously cloning your account. Scammers are also clever enough to block your real account from seeing the cloned account so you can't find and report it.

You're far more likely to discover your account has been cloned after the fact. Before a cloner can scam your friends they have to send a friend request from the cloned account, which can set off red flags for the security savvy. If your friends accept the friend request without thinking, they'll start receiving messages that may not sound like you. When a friend tells you they’ve gotten a friend request or a suspicious message, that could be a sign your account has been cloned.

What should I do if my Facebook account has been cloned?

Facebook doesn't allow accounts to impersonate others. If you find a cloned account, you and your friends should report it to Facebook. Just go to the cloned profile and:

  1. Click the "…" icon in the upper right of their profile page.
  2. Select "Find support or report," "Pretending to be something," and then "Friend."
  3. Follow the instructions onscreen to report the account for impersonating you.

Once you’ve reported the page, post to your timeline and tell friends not to accept new friend requests from you, and to ignore any messages that might be scams.

How can I avoid Facebook account cloning?

Avoiding your account being cloned and protecting your friends from the associated scams and spam is really simple to do. The key is hiding your Facebook friends list. Anyone who clones your account will use your public friends list as a list of targets. But if your Friends list is private, it's much harder for them to come up with the list of your friends and family to target.

I have my friends list hidden and I advise everyone I know to do the same. Hiding your friends list only takes a few quick clicks and I'll walk you through it in my story on How to Hide your Friends List on Facebook.

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

When your account is cloned, someone on Facebook is pretending to be you. But when your account is hacked, someone has gained access to your Facebook password and is actually using your Facebook account to be you. The most obvious signs of hacking are spam posts from your real account or being locked out of your account entirely. Though it's possible someone has hacked your account using stolen credentials but not yet taken any action. To confirm if your Facebook account has been hacked, you can check for any unusual logins:

  1. Open Facebook from your web browser.
  2. Click your profile photo in the upper right to open the menu, then select "Settings & privacy."
  3. Select "Settings."
  4. In the "Your activity" section in the left-hand column, select "Activity log" and then "Where You're Logged In."
  5. The "Where You're Logged In" section tells you every device logged on to your account and when they last logged on. Review each login to decide if it's you.

If every login was you, then you have nothing to worry about. Unrecognized logins are not a sure sign you've been hacked (you may have simply logged in on a family member's device or an old phone and forgotten about it), but you can make sure you're protected by following the steps below.

What should I do if my Facebook account has been hacked?

If you don't recognize a login, click on the menu (three dots) for that login and choose "Log out." This will boot out the possible hacker. After that, change your password and set up two-factor authentication for extra security:

  1. Open Facebook from your web browser.
  2. Click your profile photo in the upper right to open the menu, then select "Settings & privacy."
  3. Select "Settings."
  4. In the Meta Account Center box, select "Password and security" and then select "Password and security" again on the Meta Account Center page. There, you'll find the options for changing your password and enabling two-factor authentication.

Even if you haven't been hacked, turning on alerts for unrecognized logins is a good idea. When it's enabled, Facebook will tell you if an unrecognized device logs onto your account, so you'll know immediately if a hacker has access to your account. On the Meta Account Center page, you'll also find the option for "Login alerts." I recommend selecting both in-app notifications and at least one email address.

Unfortunately, when your account is hacked, the hacker usually changes your password, email address, and phone number, making it very difficult for you to access or recover your account. If this happens to your account, Facebook has an account recovery process you need to follow to regain access. Anecdotally, we've heard mixed results from readers on whether Facebook is able to assist them to get back in, but there is no alternative method.

Read our story: The Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings

Updated on 5/28/2024 with current instructions on how to change your settings.

[Image credit: Techlicious]

Elizabeth Harper is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering consumer technology and entertainment. In addition to writing for Techlicious, she's Editorial Director of Blizzard Watch and is published on sites all over the web including Time, CBS, Engadget, The Daily Dot and DealNews.


Topics

Facebook, Computers and Software, Computer Safety & Support, Tips & How-Tos


Discussion loading

gravatar

From Heather DiCosmo on April 09, 2019 :: 3:32 am


I’m not sure why I’m seeing another person’s FB profile pic &his; friends every time I try to login to my account. I’m not a hacker, I’m not sure what’s going on here. Can someone please help me resolve this bc I don’t want anyone seeing my personal private stuff or my accounts or pictures.

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on April 09, 2019 :: 11:14 am


Are you seeing someone else’s pic before you log in or after you log in? If it’s before you log in, that’s just because that person used your device to log in to Facebook previously. You can change that by clicking the X in the corner of the picture to “Remove account from this page”.

If you’re seeing someone’s picture after you log in, are you sure you’re logging in with your credentials and not someone else’s credentials who were saved on your device and are being autofilled during the log in?

Reply

gravatar

From Lia on January 08, 2021 :: 4:57 am


It’s possible that that other account has used that device you are trying to login from ie. You bought a used phone or used computer that wasn’t properly wiped, or you are on a public computer.

Try clearing your cache and deleting your cookies, and see if that helps.

Reply

gravatar

From Mark Saulys on June 23, 2019 :: 11:05 am


If the clone of your account blocks your original account then you won’t be able to find the clone account ina search, correct?

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on June 24, 2019 :: 10:49 am


When someone blocks you on Facebook, they don’t show up in your searches, so that shouldn’t be any different for a cloned account. And it is probably a pretty smart idea for scam accounts to block you for that reason. However, you could always find those accounts by searching from the account of a friend or spouse to help with reporting them.

Reply

gravatar

From Bashir khan on June 11, 2023 :: 1:46 am


The “Where You’re Logged In” section tells you every device that’s logged on to your account, and when they last logged on. Click “See More” to see a full list, and review each login to decide if it’s you.

Reply

gravatar

From Dan P. on July 10, 2023 :: 5:56 pm


Khan,

Thanks for the recommendations. I did find a Linux-based system logged in. Dumped that one. FB then took me through a further security check. Have a good one.

Dan

gravatar

From Pamela whelan on October 05, 2019 :: 4:31 pm


My facebook and messenger just vanished.said I had suspicious activities and won’t let me log back in.its asking for a photo Id which won’t let me upload.somebody made a fake profile of me last week so think it has something to do with that.but how do I get my page and messenger back as I’ve my business page linked to it and I can’t access it

Reply

gravatar

From Sylvia Atkin on November 10, 2019 :: 6:19 pm


I have seen where friend request have been made but I did not do it.  Also messages have been send from me that I did not do.  Please check and let me know.

Reply

gravatar

From Keith on December 06, 2019 :: 11:05 am


How do I stop a hacker sending out instant messages with my profile picture and name asking for money

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on December 06, 2019 :: 11:19 am


There’s not much you can do to stop people from cloning your profile, all you can do is report it after the fact. (Note, these aren’t “hackers”, just impostors). But if you follow our steps above on how to avoid it (that is, make your account less interesting to cloners), it’s unlikely people will try to clone your account in the future.

Reply

gravatar

From Michael Murray on November 04, 2021 :: 1:32 pm


My Facebook account was cloned about six weeks the the person who cloned it logs in from London UK I reside in Aberdeen Scotland. There is no way I can get a password to sign in.Facebook won’t let me log into my account without a password or use forgotten password. My Facebook friends and family members and myself have reported this to Facebook but so far nothing has been done this person is still sending friend requests and messages trying to get my friends involved in financial deals.I have many friends and nostalgic photographs on Facebook.

Reply

gravatar

From Kate on April 24, 2020 :: 8:47 am


Hi,
So, I received a message from the boyfriend of a friend, and when confronted about it, the boyfriend claimed he knew nothing about it and that his account was cloned. When I go to messenger and click on the message, then request to view the profile that sent it, I’m taken back to the boyfriend’s real profile. He claims that the cloned account connected the two. Is this possible?

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on April 24, 2020 :: 12:25 pm


I can’t answer definitively about what is going on without more details, but I don’t see a way that a message from a cloned Facebook account could redirect back to the real account.

Reply

gravatar

From T Bradley on May 17, 2020 :: 3:50 pm


My wife is victim of a clone profile - of course, all the buttons such as “give feedback” or “report this profile” are deleted from the menu on the profile page. So, while it’s probably not even on the Facebook platform, it’s still a good copy and can be used for the same nefarious reasons in pretty much the same way. So, not helpful. (But no complaints - Facebook itself provides exactly the same unhelpful advice, with nowhere to report this variation on the situation.)

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on May 18, 2020 :: 9:54 am


There’s no way to remove the Report Profile option on a Facebook profile page. Are you saying this is a profile on Facebook that you can’t report or a profile off Facebook you can’t report (which if that’s the case, not clear why you’re blaming Facebook for something not on their platform)? Can yo provide a link here to the profile you’re concerned about so I can review in more detail?

Reply

gravatar

From Anne Babinaga on August 23, 2022 :: 12:51 pm


Some one cloned my Facebook, on the 2nd August 2022 at about 1pm gmt (UK London time) used photos from my own account, sent out numerous friend requests and is going into inboxes asking for money to be sent to a Ugandan number
I have reported to Facebook, asked friends to report too.
But the cloned account is still open,. Please help me,
Bernadette so it can be closed
Use the link below and share [redacted]

Reply

gravatar

From Rick on June 14, 2020 :: 12:55 pm


I have a different situation. Someone by a totally different name is using my email and phone number for their account. If I log out of my account and go back in and type in my username and password it takes me to their account and not my original?? What is that and how do I fix it?

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on June 16, 2020 :: 2:30 pm


Email is a unique identifier in Facebook, so there is no way for two accounts to be sharing the same email address. If you try to create a new account using an email address already in use, it will simply take you into account recovery mode.

Without being able to see exactly what you’re seeing, it’s hard to say what is going on. But if you could provide more detail on your account and the other account, I can take a look. If you don’t want to post the account IDs here, you can email them to me at josh at techlicious dot com and I will respond back in the comments.

Reply

gravatar

From Dorothy on July 03, 2020 :: 9:18 pm


I’ve been cloned, but I’ve searched for another account of name and found nothing. 
So how can I report that account if I can’t find it.
My friends are telling me they are getting friend requests and messages.
Very frustrating
Thank you

Reply

gravatar

From Sarina Bezuidenhoud on September 15, 2020 :: 2:21 pm


I think my previous profile account has been cloned or hacked. What can I do to delete that account or remove it.

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on September 17, 2020 :: 9:59 am


We have an article that walks you through the steps to delete an old Facebook account. Though if it has been hacked, you may no longer be able to access it, in which case you will need to recover your hacked Facebook account first. If your account has been cloned, deleting your real account is probably a bad idea, because then only the cloned account will be out there. Instead, report the cloned account and get that removed first.

Reply

gravatar

From Neil Hughes on September 21, 2020 :: 11:58 am


My wife’s friend has been receiving messages from an account bearing her name, but it isn’t her account. I’ve asked the friend to send me the link to the site so I can take action and report it, but she is unable to do so. When she taps the profile picture which usually enables you to copy the link, a message headed “content not found” is displayed. Is there any other way to get rid of this fake account?

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on September 21, 2020 :: 10:30 pm


If you’re seeing the content not found message,  the profile has likely already been removed. Is she still getting those messages after she saw the “content not found”?

Reply

gravatar

From Melissa Martin on October 08, 2020 :: 9:30 am


My account was hacked several weeks ago. The person was able to change my email address to his and he changed my name on my facebook profile and made it his name. All of my friends can see his name under my picture and it is creepy.  I tried to report this with no help.  I created a new page and now that has been disabled.  I know it is tied to the hacking. How can I get around this?

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on October 13, 2020 :: 8:59 am


You’re able to report your account being hacked here: https://www.facebook.com/hacked? Is that what you tried already? If so, the next step should be to have your friends report the account as hacked by going to the profile and reporting it as “Pretending to be someone”. That may get the account shut down, rather than recovered, but it may be your best option if Facebook isn’t responding to your hacked request.

Reply

gravatar

From Paulette Vaughn on October 11, 2020 :: 9:27 pm


She has deleted her messenger to try to stop them but “she” is still sending messages.  I tried to report from a message sent to me but it won’t let me submit after I choose who is cloned.  What can she do?  She as already reported with no response.

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on October 13, 2020 :: 9:01 am


Keep reporting the profile and have her other friends report the profile, as well. Hopefully, sooner or later, Facebook will take care of it.

Reply

gravatar

From peter griffith on December 11, 2020 :: 8:53 pm


facebook suddenly vanished on the 10th Ddecember 2020off my computor without warning and asked me to nopen anew account when i did they told me there was someone with the same name AS me already on that account there was no way i new how to tell them it was me so ive no way of entering facebook i am 90 and not to bright with these computors but not dim either will some one please help

Reply

gravatar

From Question on December 13, 2020 :: 10:10 am


Hi,

I accepted a friend request from a friend I’m already friends with. Is my account now at risk?

Thanks,

Reply

gravatar

From Judith Anne McEvoy on December 18, 2020 :: 12:50 am


I updated my e-mail on Facebook months ago and now my old e-mail is showing and I can’t delete it.  When I try to add a new email address I get the message that someone else already has a facebook account with the email address I’m trying to add.
Does that mean I’ve been hacked or cloned?

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on December 19, 2020 :: 3:48 pm


It’s possible someone set up a Facebook account using your email address, though they would have had to have had access to your email to do that. More likely is that you set up a second Facebook account accidentally with that email. The best option is to try to access Facebook with that other email address and see what comes up. If it is asking for a different password than your normal Facebook password, go through the password recovery process to get access and see what’s up.

Reply

gravatar

From Judith Anne McEvoy on January 09, 2021 :: 11:38 am


Thank you for responding..I actually tried setting up a facebook account with the new email address and it let me…now I’m deleting the new one and after the 30 days will try to change my email again…any ideas on why I can’t copy and paste anymore?

Reply

gravatar

From Jan Tatangelo on February 20, 2021 :: 11:16 pm


I was getting emails when someone followed me. They looked like fake accts so I blocked them especially since we didn’t have anyone in common. I got FB requests from them.  Surprise. As a senior, I get a ton of requests, all widowed, military, with a dog or kids. Creeps!  I would like to zap them before I get requests from them.  My “Followers” button has disappeared completely. I’ve tried to contact FB to get some help but they can’t be contacted. 
I really appreciate your expertise and giving help to the people who need it.  Thank you.

Reply

gravatar

From Orin Howell on April 07, 2021 :: 10:22 am


I made an appreciation comment on my county clerk’s page. There was no indication the page was connected to FB.  Not being a FB user or having an account, now I have one. On my phone messaging, I keep getting friend requests. Have I been hacked or cloned. I’ve been told there is another person on FB with my name. His FB account is valid. How can I get my name removed as I don’t want a FB account?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on April 08, 2021 :: 10:40 am


If you try to create a Facebook account using a phone number or email, Facebook will require you to confirm that you own that email/number via a confirmation email or SMS. So it’s impossible to “accidentally” create an account.

Unless you went through that confirmation process (and are 100% sure you never created a Facebook account in the past), it’s more likely that the text messages you’re getting are phishing attempts that are trying to trick you into logging into Facebook on a fake login page. You could verify this by looking at the links and seeing what the url is - if it’s not facebook.com, it’s definitely phishing. Note that sometimes people create urls that look like Facebook, e.g., with foreign letters, but really aren’t, so it can be a little tricky to tell the difference. And some links could, potentially, bring you to sites with malware, so I’m not recommending you click the links.

Note that there was just a major hack of Facebook user data and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see an uptick in phishing attempts connected with that.

Reply

gravatar

From Navidad on April 28, 2021 :: 6:39 pm


Hello I was wondering is their any way Facebook can track a clone account that was made of me even If the person deactivated the account? Like can Facebook tell me what country or state the account was made in it’s all I wanna know

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on April 29, 2021 :: 8:55 pm


I’m sure Facebook has data on the IP address associated with account creation. But they’re not going to release that data, absent a court order, for obvious privacy reasons. There’s also the possibility that whomever created the closed account, did so using a VPN or other means to hide their true IP address, so the data wouldn’t be useful, anyhow.

Reply

gravatar

From John on May 02, 2021 :: 3:03 pm


G’day

I have been cloned on every platform.  My iPhone is cloned, my SIM cloned and Facebook & Messenger cloned.  Can’t stop them from getting back in.  I have 2 factor but they obviously use the cloned SIM to get back into my Facebook account.  Change SIM but obviously they have a near yo the victim method of cloning SIM again.  Isn’t there any other way of securing my Facebook account?  Why isn’t there 3 factor authentication?

Reply

gravatar

From Les Williams on May 28, 2021 :: 7:01 pm


I understand what you wrote about in your FB account cloning and how to deal with that but what do you do when it appears someone has cloned your FB Messenger app?

Reply

gravatar

From Mark Riemer on September 05, 2021 :: 2:21 am


In 2013 I made a business page from my personal account.  Recently I noticed that this business account is no longer listed on the left-hand column of my personal page. The only way for me to get to my business page is by looking under my work history and clicking on my business there.  However, when I get to my business page there is no way for me to edit the page, post anything or change settings….Its as if I am now a visitor on my own page.  Last night someone added a “Shop on website” button to my business page that sends people to a chinese link selling puppies.  I have written Facebook twice but have gotten no replies.  How can I regain access to my account, OR get the page taken down?

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on September 08, 2021 :: 11:21 am


At some point in the past, your Facebook credentials were hacked/phished and your business account was taken over. Here’s one common way scammers are phishing business Facebook account logins.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do other than report it to Facebook as a hacked account and hope they take action. You might have more luck if you create an advertising account and try to get support through that, though I’m just grasping for straws here.

Note that if you use the same login for your business and personal Facebook accounts, it also means your personal login credentials were compromised. So it is imperative that you change your password and, ideally, turn on two-factor authentication.

Reply

gravatar

From Mark Riemer on September 29, 2021 :: 12:47 pm


Thanks for the reply…I have had two-step authentification on since I was first hacked a year ago, back when Facebook actually had a support CHAT….Now, I have reported the hack on 15-18 different ways, asked friends and students to report it…and get NO reply, or Facebook says I haven’t proved any hack….Any idiot would see that my Vocal Practice wouldn’t be selling chinese dogs…My ad account for my business is also gone, so no way to get support there…

Reply

gravatar

From Primmy on September 27, 2021 :: 11:09 am


Someone hackef my account and for some odd reason I was just oblivious to what they were doing… They were helping me set up the 2 way factor verification and then asked for my password then I couldnt access it a few hours later

Reply

gravatar

From Josh Kirschner on September 29, 2021 :: 12:31 pm


We have another article that deals specifically with what to do when your Facebook account ha been hacked. Follow the advice there. You’ll need to report it to Facebook and will likely need to provide various documentation to prove you own the account.

Reply

gravatar

From Lisa Ritter Donato on May 06, 2022 :: 8:46 pm


My husband’s acct was hacked he was able to get back in once and saw his email had been changed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). both myself and husband reported it to facebook. Obviously if facebbok is sending msgs to the fb email they are sending it to the hackers outlook address. The hacker is continuing to msg friends asking for money passwords to help unlock their new phone etc. So annoying.

Reply

gravatar

From Arthur Munson on June 14, 2022 :: 12:10 pm


This is a very helpful article, but it needs a little update to the repeated instruction on how to access Settings.  Now you have to click on your profile pic which is top left (on my laptop at least) and use the Settings and Privacy menu option.

Reply

gravatar

From Suzanne Kantra on June 17, 2022 :: 11:03 am


Thank you for the heads-up! I’ve updated the instructions and added screenshots.

Reply

gravatar

From Diane on June 22, 2022 :: 6:49 pm


I keep my Facebook profile pretty clamped down and restricted, and follow the steps you recommended and more to do so. The only exception I make is leaving the option open for everyone/public to find me. I do this because some time ago my son who has a mental illness disappeared. Friends of his and an angel of a stranger (who only had my name) were able to find me through Facebook and send me an initial message through Facebook Messenger so that we could get in contact. If it weren’t for the angel/stranger especially, the situation would not have had such a miraculous ending.

I would only recommend this exception if you are as diligent as I am about hiding my friends’ list, checking and deleting my logins regularly, limiting past posts (especially anytime I update a profile or cover photo), and so on. I rarely get spam messages or fake friends requests. Actually, I cant even remember the last time I did…

Reply

gravatar

From Jefferson Davis on July 24, 2022 :: 3:21 pm


Many times apps are not on feature parity with their desktop version.  While the instructions do clearly say to do this from the web browser, many will skim over this detail.

Reply

Read More Comments: 1 2

Home | About | Meet the Team | Contact Us
Media Kit | Newsletter Sponsorships | Licensing & Permissions
Accessibility Statement
Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookie Policy

Techlicious participates in affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provide a small commission from some, but not all, of the "click-thru to buy" links contained in our articles. These click-thru links are determined after the article has been written, based on price and product availability — the commissions do not impact our choice of recommended product, nor the price you pay. When you use these links, you help support our ongoing editorial mission to provide you with the best product recommendations.

© Techlicious LLC.