A viral hoax is spreading across Facebook, prompting officials to warn against heeding the fake messages about cloned accounts.
The message says, ""Hi….I actually got another friend request from you yesterday…which I ignored so you may want to check your account." It then asks the recipient to forward the message to all their friends, an instruction that causes the hoax to spread even farther, officials said.
While cloned accounts can be an issue -- when fraudsters set up fake accounts using a real person's name -- there isn't a current epidemic, as the hoax message suggests, according to CBS Philly. The hoax works by suggesting an account has been cloned, even when it hasn't, prompting worried users to spread the message to all their friends.
"Your account isn't sending duplicate friend requests. And you didn't receive a request from the person you're forwarding it to," officials in Louisiana warned in a public service message on Facebook. "You're simply doing it because the message tells you to."
Facebook said that it was aware of the hoax.
"We've heard that some people are seeing posts or messages about accounts being cloned on Facebook. It takes the form of a 'chain mail' type of notice," a spokeswoman wrote in an email. It advises consumers to report fake accounts if they encounter them.
The cloned account hoax comes after Facebookin which 50 million user accounts were accessed by hackers exploiting a bug that affected its popular "View As" feature. Another 40 million user accounts were at risk from the security flaw before Facebook took steps to protect them, the company said last month.
The security bug would let attackers steal "access tokens," which are digital keys that Facebook uses to keep people logged in. Attackers could "seize control" of user accounts through the access tokens, Facebook said.