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Latest Online Scam? Thieves Target Facebook Pages

BOSTON (CBS) -- Joseph Giacalone had an unwanted twin on Facebook.

Someone hacked into his Facebook profile, made an exact copy, and started talking to his friends. He only found out when the thief asked one of his friends for money.

"It was embarrassing,"  Giacalone told WBZ-TV's Kathryn Hauser.

It's a scam called Facebook cloning. The so-called social media identity theft involves recreating a duplicate Facebook profile and gaining access to that person's friends to scam or spam them.

Fortunately, Giacalone's friend knew right away that the message did not come from his real friend. Giacalone contacted Facebook and the company deleted the fraudulent page.

According to tech expert Lance Ulanoff, checking off stricter privacy settings on Facebook may help some users from getting hacked.

"They're providing tools to people to help protect themselves, and that's always the first line of defense -- protect yourself," Ulanoff told WBZ-TV.

Giacalone now limits access to his posts.

"Nobody's reputation was ruined. No one had any money taken from them," Giacalone said. "So this is now an opportunity where I now can start changing my online behavior."

However, even with the right privacy settings, there are still ways hackers can gain access to personal information. Online theft experts also recommend never posting full birth dates, relationship status, or photos of children tagged with their names.


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