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Facebook profile hacked? Friendship requests from friends

The victims do not initially notice the fraud: On Facebook, they receive a friend request from someone with whom they are actually already friends. Many unwillingly accept the new friend request. Immediately they receive a message in which it says, for example, that the profile has been blocked and that you had to get a new one. In addition, the "friend" asks for the cell phone number that he allegedly lost.

If you reveal your number, you will usually receive an SMS with a code shortly afterwards. The Facebook "friend" would like to know this. Now at the latest the trap snaps shut: Whoever sends the code loses money!

What happened?

The rip-off takes place in several steps:

  1. A scammer copied (not hacked) the friend's Facebook profile. Cover and profile pictures are publicly available and can therefore be saved and re-used by anyone. With this new profile, the fraudster makes new friend requests to the friends of the original profile.
  2. The scammer asks for the cell phone number of the friends who accepted his invitation.
  3. The fraudster gives the mobile phone number to a payment service that he uses for Internet purchases.
  4. The payment service sends a code via SMS to the specified mobile phone number as confirmation.
  5. If the fraudster learns the code, he gives it to the payment service as confirmation.
  6. The payment service debits the amount on the victim's mobile phone bill.

Simple protection

Set the visibility of your Facebook friends list so that it is not public. Then at least your profile is worthless to the scammers. We show how this works in the video:

Video:

Consumer advice center NRW.

Often the new "friends" stand out due to poor German. If you are suspicious, your best bet is to ask a question that only your real friend can answer. Or contact him in another way to find out whether he really has created a new profile on Facebook.

Report fraud

The so-called fake profiles usually disappear shortly after they have been created. If they still exist, you should report the copies to Facebook. To do this, open the profile from which you received a new friend request (not the original profile of your friend!), Click on the three dots to the right of the name (or under the name in the Facebook app) and then on " Report". Select "Report this profile" and follow the next steps.

What can you do if you fall for it?

  • In legal advice, experts from the consumer advice center can sound out the chances of saving the money after all. You can find a counseling center near you here.
  • Regardless of this, you can have your mobile phone provider set up what is known as a third-party block. A phone call is usually sufficient, or you can do it in writing using our sample letter. With many providers, you can also activate the third-party block in the online customer area.