South African Facebook profiles are being cloned and used to solicit money, The Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Computer forensics expert Bennie Labuschagne, told the newspaper that scammers used programs designed to “deep mine” online accounts and bypass security features.
“Cloning is very common and it is now like the 419 scams, only on social networks,” Labuschagne was quoted by The Times as having said.
“A Facebook friend called me to find out why I had sent her a message asking for money online. I then discovered that my page had been duplicated,” Dinesh Ramrathan, one of the victims, told the newspaper.
The imposter claimed that Ramrathan was in trouble and needed money urgently.
University of KwaZulu-Natal associate professor of information systems Manoj Maharaj, said though Facebook could not be hacked because of its hi-tech security features, the affected users might have put themselves at risk by clicking on links to external games, applications, and shopping sites.
“Users are clicking on these links without realising that their information is being passed on. If one of those sites is hacked, their information, such as credit card details, is easily accessible,” Maharaj was quoted as having said.