Back from the dead: Facebook users getting friend requests from deceased family members and friends
What happens when you get a friend request on Facebook from someone you know; however, this someone in this case is not alive? You will be stunned, petrified, scared, etc. right?
That is what is happening to some of the users of Facebook who have reported of getting friend requests from dead friends and family members. While dealing with a closed one’s death and handling their Facebook accounts after their death in itself is horrifying, and with such friend requests coming in, it is only causing more grievances for such people. However, what is more worrying is the fact that cyber-criminals and scammers are using this social media platform to trick people to steal money from them or for running some other frauds.
So, how does this whole thing work? Basically, such friend requests are likely the result of cloning or hacking scams. For instance, the first method involves cloning someone’s account (in this case, the profile of the deceased) and stealing all the information in that profile, which is then used to setup a new account that is actually controlled by someone else. Further, the other method involves hacking into a deceased’s Facebook account and taking control of that account.
In both the cases, the scammers have a complete hold over the account, which allows them to send messages, while pretending to be someone’s friend. Then, the scammer sends friend requests to the friends of the account they cloned or hacked into, in the hope that a number of them will accept the request under the thinking that it is the friend that has either created a new account of that they were accidentally deleted and being duly re-added. Once an invitation has been accepted, the scammer can now see information on that account.
The scammer can then carry various kinds of scams, hoaxes and cons on the person who accepted the friend request. For example, the trick known as “friends in crisis” scam, where a person claims they are stuck somewhere and need money to get out of a problem. Or the fake account may be used to send users links to malicious websites that will attempt to install malware onto their computer when visited. Or they will be sent to a survey scam, which gather personal information by luring them into completing intrusive questionnaires. Or the fake account may be used to check on a person’s statuses and other information to impersonate them or steal from them.
The above tricks and scams are applicable for those Facebook users who are alive too. If you too come across such a horrifying friend request on Facebook, please submit a request to either have the account of the dead to be memorialized (so that it will still be visible on Facebook, but no one will be able to log into it) or deactivated. This request can be made by filling the contact form given here
You can also find more information on how to report a deceased person or memorialize an account on Facebook by clicking here.