Facebook encourages users to memorialize the accounts of the deceased

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. Facebook users have reported receiving friend requests from accounts associated with dead friends and family members. And aside from the obvious distress such a request can cause, it also points to a worrying scam that affects people on Facebook. While dealing with a closed one’s death and handling their Facebook accounts after their death in itself is horrifying. 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.

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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. Cloning that account 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. Hoping that a number of them will accept the request under 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.

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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. Facebook’s help team encourages users to submit a request to have the account memorialized. Facebook’s special tool enables to turn a profile into a place to remember its owner, rather than an active account— or to have it deactivated entirely, so that it can no longer be used.