On Your Side Alert: Facebook Cloning

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Cyber crooks are targeting Facebook profiles. Criminals can actually clone your page and post on your behalf.

Who doesn't have Facebook these days. It's a great way to stay connected  to family and friends but not everyone on the social media site wants to see pictures of cute pets and family outings.  Cyber expert, D. J. Rivera says criminals are constantly targeting the site.

In fact, Facebook has a page dedicated to educating consumers about some of the scams out there. One deception is Facebook Cloning. "Your browser would display Facebook, you would think you are on Facebook.com but you are actually on my clone site and what I would do on my clone site is I would collect your user name and password," Rivera explains.

While you're looking at the fake page, the criminals are updating your "real" site with your latest postings, so no one knows anything's wrong. Meanwhile, crooks are tracking your every move. "The goal is ultimately as it always is, about financial gain. They are going to make money. One way to do it, is that there is a black market  for login information and password and they sell that to spammers," Rivera tells us.

He says the number one way people become victims of cloning is by clicking on malicious links in emails; that's how crooks install the cloning programs. When you click the virus, it is installed and cyber criminals sit back and wait. "When you click on those links, they would own your system and whatever you type on that computer is not protected," Rivera says.

It is difficult  to tell if you have been compromised. Rivera says you may not notice anything -- but eventually crooks may post a malicious link on your friend's page. If they click and share it, then the cycle continues. Sometimes these cyber thieves are after more than just your Facebook password. "They try to get into your bank account information and then they would go into thousands of bank accounts and transfer maybe five dollars or 10 dollars each month. Sometimes even cents, so people won't notice and there is an industry that can make a lot of money out of doing that," Rivera explains.

Making sure your Anti-Virus is updated is always a good line of defense and of course don't click links in emails. If you think you're a victim, Rivera says reset your computer to factory settings. Another tip, don't use your computer as administrator - instead create a limited account.  Using this option, your computer will have to get your permission before changing or installing any programs. "It is not only a Facebook thing, if I can do it to Facebook I can do it to any other website," he says.

If you think you've been compromised, experts say you may also want to reset all your account passwords just to be safe.

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