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EricN Publications by Eric Niewoehner
EricNPublications by Eric Niewoehner

Facebook -- Impersonated Accounts

First published February 28, 2022. 



March 2, 2022

March 3, 2022

The Problem


Probably the most frequent scam I encounter are impersonated accounts. These are folks I know who are requesting me to be their friend, except I am deeply suspicious that they are not the same person. In essence, someone has 1) accessed their account or 2) copied photos that are open to the public for viewing.


The One Thing You Don’t Need to Do


The one thing you do not need to do is delete your account. I find that so unfortunate and it can get confusing for your friends.


Three Easy Steps to Improve Security


The easiest thing you can do to avoid this situation is to maintain good password management practices.


  • Change your passwords at least annually if not more often. Whenever someone mentions you have been scammed, change it then.

  • Secondly, use complex passwords. Being that most people use Facebook on their phones, passwords cannot get too complex if you also use it on your desktop or over your streaming media service. But it should be more than twelve letters long, a mix of capital and small case letters, with numbers and a special character.

  • Some people may want to take advantage of multi-factor authentication. For most people, this would entail having your phone nearby.

  • Use a password unique to your social media accounts. Don’t use the same password you use for the bank or the IRS or at work. If your account gets hacked, Lord have mercy if the hackers find out your bank account uses the same password!

  • See more on password tips.

Public or Friends in Facebook A post shared with friends

The second thing you can do is review your postings. Understandably, most of us set up our profiles so that they can be viewed by the “public.” That makes it possible for friends to find you and request to be connected. But our individual postings can be restricted to friends only. I noticed that many of you post pictures of your kids, pets and pastimes. Make sure you are directing those posts to your friends and not to the public.


Finally, you can check which devices are connecting to your account. It is a bit involved to access, but is very helpful in keeping tabs on who is connecting to your network.


  • Click on the pull-down menu in the upper right hand corner

  • Select “Settings and Privacy”

  • Select “Settings”

  • Select “Security and Login”

  • A report is delivered. Note there is a section titled “Where You’re Logged In”

  • Schedule a regular review, preferably a monthly check.


The security and privacy settings are quite interesting and you will discover other tools you can use to improve security.


Where to find who has logged onto your account in Facebook Where You're Logged In


How Can I Tell?


Some of you may be wondering how I can tell someone is not for real. Here are a few suggestions:


  • Check to see if they are already your friend. That’s the easiest give-away.

  • If they are elderly, be alert. People get ill and pass away, and their accounts go dormant. These are the most frequent victims of impersonation. I sometimes ask mutual friends how this person is doing.

  • Before answering their request, click onbh their name and visit their account. If you see only a few photos and an unusually low “mutual friend” count, be suspicious.

  • Do a search for that person and see if a duplicate account shows itself.

  • Does a person’s profile fit? This takes a bit of psychology, but I have frequently spotted scam accounts because they say things or omit things that I know a person would not normally do.



March 2, 2022


Facebook provides a useful reporting tool.  Follow these steps to provide details about people who are impersonating your account (also called "imposters.")

Click the down arrow in the upper right corner of your Facebook page.  A pull-down menu appears of which "Help and Support" is one of your options.


Clicking "Help and Support" will present a menu where one of your options is "Hacked and False Accounts."  Follow their guidance.  You will eventually see an opportunity to report false accounts (I found several links for reporting).


March 3, 2022


Came across a good video on how to handle Imposters.  The video also provides a tip on how to protect your friends.



How to Tell If Someone Else Is Using Your Facebook Account”, alphr, by Lee Stanton, December 24, 2021



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