Facebook hacks and online scams you need to know about


Durban – There has been a notable spike in social media account hacking recently. Be it a Facebook or Instagram account or even spam subscriptions you don’t remember signing up for, almost every day, someone you know is being hacked.

According to SAPS, a cloned Facebook account is a copy that uses your profile photo and other public information to trick your friends into giving up their information.

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Police say a cloned account may convince your friends to send them money, collect passwords or other information or dupe them into other scams.

If your Facebook account has been cloned, you can search Facebook for your name to see if there are other accounts pretending to be you, but it’s likely that there’s someone else on Facebook who legitimately shares your name.

So while you can do this to look for duplicates, be aware that not every result will be someone maliciously cloning your account.

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“Before a person can scam your friends, they have to send them a friend request from their cloned account, which can set off red flags for the security savvy. If they accept your friend request without thinking, they’ll start receiving messages that may not sound like you,” police said.

If a friend tells you they’ve received a friend request or a suspicious message, your account may have been cloned.

If your Facebook account has been cloned, you can report it.

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“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,” advised the SAPS.

Other online scams come in the form of subscription emails or emails with links that request you to confirm or verify your personal data.

According to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS), over the past year, South Africans have faced increased risk of becoming a victim of fraud.

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SAFPS chief executive Manie van Schalkwyk said this was particularly concerning given the current economic climate.

He added that biometrics was adding an extra sophisticated layer of security to try to prevent financial crime. However, this makes fraudsters more insistent and increases the level of involvement from the public as they want to lend a helping hand.

Van Schalkwyk said Gauteng was the economic hub of the country and is the province which has the highest fraud stats.

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“The province makes up 62% of the country’s total fraud incidents and the number of fraud incidents that were recorded in 2022 increased by 117% over the number of incidents reported in 2021,” he said.

He added that KwaZulu-Natal contributed 18% of the fraud incidents in 2022 and the number of incidents reported this year increased by 106% compared to 2021.

“The interesting statistic for the SAFPS is the increase in the Western Cape. There are visible signs of an increase of fraudulent activity in this province. The Western Cape made up 8% of the country’s total fraud incidents and there was a 133% increase over the number of fraud incidents reported in 2021,” he said.

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