Has it happened to you? Have you been duped by a Facebook impostor?
Here’s how it happens:
You log into Facebook and the first thing you do is check your notifications to see what’s going on.
That’s when you notice a new friend notification and click to find a friend request from “Shannon” (insert your friend’s name here). For a second you think… “Wait a minute, am I not already friends with her?”…
Then, you click on the friend request and you see her picture as the profile image, a picture of her family vacation as the cover, plus a bunch of other people you know who are already friends with her so you figure it must be okay, right?
Maybe she created a new account. Maybe she unfriended you by accident and added you again…you shrug and click on confirm then go about your Facebook business.
This is where you made your first mistake and how you help Facebook Impersonation grow.
When you get a friend request that you suspect to be duplicate the first thing you want to do is go look for your friend on Facebook and ask them “Did you create a second Facebook account?” A quick Facebook private message can often clear things up.
Most of the time the new friend request is impersonation and without even realizing it you are allowing someone who is pretending to be someone they are not to have access to all your personal information on Facebook by accepting the friend request. You do not want to do this.
The reasons for impersonating someone on Facebook can vary from hackers looking to collect personal information about you to stalkers who are trying to get information on the person they are pretending to be. Regardless of the reason, you want to put a stop to it right away.
This is what you want to do:
Step One: Go to their profile, click the drop down arrow.
Step Two: Select Report/Block.
Step Three: Submit a Report and select Report Person’s Account
Step Four: Select This timeline is pretending to be me or someone I know, and select appropriate sub section and type name of person being impersonated in and press continue.
Facebook will give you the option to let the person who is being impersonated know too, so they can file their own report and put an end to the impersonation.
This is how you stop a fraudulent account from gaining momentum.
So, the next time you get what you think might be a duplicate friend request, instead of just confirming them as a friend, follow these steps and get the Facebook Impersonator shut down.
Have you ever had an impostor or been friended by one? Share your story in the comments below!
26 thoughts on “How to Stop Facebook Impostors”
I get that there’s celebrity impostors out there – for parody and whatnot. But I’m not sure I understand what the upside is of pretending to be someone is.
I think the goal for the imposter is to have access to your friends, and essentially their email addresses as well as “asking for help” which could result in unknowing friends sending credit card info to these imposters. 🙁
Great post! Thanks. I didn’t even know this was going on! Now, I’ll be on the lookout.
I’m so glad that you posted about this, as I have also seen some “second” friend requests in the past. I always hope that people will not accept a second request from me. Being aware that this happens is the best way to help prevent it.
Sometimes the imposter will also have far fewer likes on their page or different links.
How long does this reporting process take to kick in? Reported someone impersonating my mom yesterday, and the account still exists. My mom even confirmed her account through an SMS code during the reporting process.
Usually within 24 hours if enough people report the account.
I recently accepted a friend request from someone claiming to be Matthew Vincent Giovati, who said he is a general stationed in Syria with the UN.
However after a few correspondences it was clear that he isn’t even an American. His usage of the English language and basic sentence structure gave him away.
I I friended him, but I think the real person would want to know his identity is being used on FB.
I also noticed that this person has only female middle aged FB friends. I am sure they are not aware this man is an impostor.
Also I already I friended him, so was unable to get the ‘report this poster’ option.
You can still access the Report option on someone who is a friend. Go to the account you wish to report, and at the bottom right corner of the cover photo you will see 3 dots – click on those dots and you will see a drop-down list of items the last two are Report and Block. Choose Report This Account and then report it as a fake account. It accomplishes the same process that is outlined in the blog post above.
This fan girl is getting really upset with Facebook!…I’ve reported impostor accounts several times recently and in every case received back from Facebook “Thanks for your report – you did the right thing by letting us know about this. We looked over the profile you reported, and though it doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards, we understand that the profile or something they shared may still be offensive to you. We want to help you avoid things you don’t want to see on Facebook.
If you think we should look at something specific on this or another profile, you can report that exact content (ex: photo) instead of the entire profile.
From the list above, you also can block xxxxxx xxxxxx directly, or you may be able to unfriend or unfollow them. We recommend visiting the Help Center to learn more about how to control what you see in your News Feed. If you find that a person, group or Page consistently posts things you don’t want to see, you may want to limit how often you see their posts or remove them from your Facebook experience.
We know these options may not apply to every situation, so please let us know if you see something else you think we should take a look at.”
I fell for it the first time, and the imposter messaged me and started a conversation. From the content of the first few sentences, I realized that this could’t possibly be my friend. I unfriended the person and notified my friend via her real account. The second time it happened, I checked and found that the person who made the request had duplicated a different friend’s account. I notified my friend, and just didn’t respond to the request. I never knew there was more I could do about situations like these. It’s good to learn about it. Thank you.
Thanks for this post! Someone impersonated me recently, and thankfully I have some Facebook-savvy friends who knew to do exactly what you recommended. Your post educated me about what happened, and I shared it on my Facebook page. It seems to be as relevant now as when you first wrote it.
It amazes me that it still happens and that people think their account has been “hacked”. It’s more like your Facebook friends have been duped! Glad you found value, thank you for sharing.
Someone or someones has been creating imposter accounts under my name every few months for more than a year. They get shut down pretty quickly, but is there any way to prevent this or to make it more difficult for someone to impersonate me?
unfortunately, no. All you can do is report to Facebook. Sorry this is happening to you, not fun!
My problem is a person who is impersonating me in a facebook page, not their account profile. The strategy for reporting it on the cover photo doesn’t have that option like it does for profiles. There is no report option that allows you to type in a problem. Where can I report this? Thanks
Hi Bill! This, unfortunately, happens all the time but Facebook has a simple way to report imposter accounts. Simply fill out the form on https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/295309487309948/?ref=u2u
This does not help in my situation. I have an impersonator on my business Facebook page who is posting as me but he/she has a user id as they are posting. It is not me. So far, I still have control and access to my own business page but feel it’s just a matter of time before it’s taken over like my Instagram page was. So far, all “help” avenues with Facebook only help with private profiles and impersonators taking over those. Nothing for business pages.
Me too! I have a Facebook page for our business and someone is posting as me. A friend noticed it yesterday. The post actually gives the user id. It’s the same user id that hacked and took over our Instagram business page. I was never able to gain back access to that Instagram business page and no help from Instagram. I have gone through ALL help avenues on Facebook and nothing helps with this situation. It only helps with profile page and not business page.
i had a buddhist teacher i greatly admires send me anfriend request. i was so flattered. then i started getting private messages from him at 3 am. i contacted his people and they had no idea. they took care of it from there. i am suspicious of all fb communications now and tell friends to
contact me outside fb. and how to contact fb about this???
Thanks for reading and taking the time to share that anecdote, Samantha! Technology is constantly changing and we are seeing more and more internet scams these days. It’s important to know what to keep an eye out for when it comes to social media.
Someone has posted a phony Facebook page of me I have never had nor do I want Facebook and cannot get it deleted it’s driving me uncomfortable
You can report the fake account if you don’t have Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/295309487309948
In 2016, HLG said “Someone or someones has been creating imposter accounts under my name every few months for more than a year. They get shut down pretty quickly, but is there any way to prevent this or to make it more difficult for someone to impersonate me?” Your answer was “ unfortunately, no. All you can do is report to Facebook.”
Has Facebook changed anything since 2016 to help? Can we make changes to our privacy settings?
Unfortunately no, all you can do is report the account.