My first Facebook imposter experience

My first Facebook imposter experience

Summary: Social networks have become a playground for hackers. With phishing at an all time high and other methods at getting access to your life, do you feel like there is enough information out there on how to protect yourself?


Earlier this month, I received a friend request from someone I knew I had already connected with last year. I was a little perplexed but sometimes people set up non-work accounts or cancel and then re-sign up so I didn't think much of it. Even though she never really uses Facebook that much because we mostly communicate once a week or less via email, etc., I thought she was getting more active on Facebook and reaching out so I re-accepted.

Randomly on September 2, the same day I got her new friend request, I received a message from what I thought was her: "how are you doing today?" I didn't answer right away as I was bustling around downtown San Francisco and didn't have a chance to get back to her. She hit me up again that same day with another random "hello." Feeling bad that I hadn't responded right away before, I quickly replied with a "Hey [redacted]!"

When I first became suspicious, I perused my friend's account to see how she was using Facebook in general. One person had said on her wall, "Hey I thought we were already connected here, but no problem. Glad to see you on Facebook!" That kinda confirmed my gut feeling that something was weird. What appeared to be her responding to posts on her own wall was not her at all I found out later. Yikes.

As you can see in the screen shots, following the fairly innocuous exchange that almost had me hooked for a second, this person plunges right into a horrible impersonation attempt, not taking into account how random they sound and how obvious this whole sham comes off. How they thought roping Robert Casey Jr. into the conversation would be the clincher I have no idea. On screen shot #4 you can even see where I tried to get them to stop by saying "I know who this is" maybe to psych them out a little bit and yet, they kept on coming back with more.

The scary thing is that this person was interacting with her family, coworkers and friends on her wall pretending to be her. It freaks me out to think about someone trying to interact with my kids while pretending to be me.

Mind your social business

Nowadays, most of the time we can rely on our friends to get a hold of us when something spammy shows up on our Twitter feed or Facebook account that doesn't appear to come from us. In this case though, my coworker had set up an account intended only for checking in with her family every couple of months. The hacker's access to her account set the stage for possible access to hundreds of her friends, family, business connections, etc. without her really knowing until I had emailed her personally. I guess the reminder here is to make sure that if you set up an account anywhere, whether it be email or social network, be sure to consistently check these online properties for your own safety and change your passwords regularly.

Have you or any of your friends' Facebook accounts ever been hacked and/or exploited? How far did it go before you realized what was going on?

Note: When it first happened, I Googled "Robert Casey Jnr" and the email addresses "" and "" and got nothing. I tried it again before this post, still nothing.

Also check out...

Cybercrime costs $338bn to global economy; More lucrative than drugs trade

The Definitive Facebook Lockdown Guide

Topics: Social Enterprise, Legal, Security

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  • Yet another reason to avoid Facebook. (nt)

    • RE: My first Facebook imposter experience.

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  • Yahoo mail, a fine place to hijack Facebook

    I have an old Yahoo email account (now using Gmail exclusively) that I check every once in a while and will probably never cancel. Its been years and friends still email me there once in a great while, so I think it best not to let it go yet for just the very reason of impersonation.

    Unfortunately, Yahoo has horrible security. I know of many friends whose accounts have been broken into. Even with a great password, and virtually no usage by me, my stagnant Yahoo account was taken over. From there, the person used it to create a new Facebook account w/ my name. Fortunately, I look nothing like Brad Pitt, since it was a picture of him that was put up on the new Facebook account. It was a strong 'tell' to signal that it was not my account, for I'm way better looking than Brad Pitt.

    I, too, got some re-friending notices and then I got a friending notice from myself. Hackles up. I found the other account on Facebook and started pushing out the alarms on my wall. I cannot recall anymore how I made the connection, but I went to check the Yahoo mail account, found the Facebook signup trail, among the other stupid things this person signed up for. Of course, I could not initially log in to the Yahoo account and had to go through the whole password changing process. I was able to use my newly re-accessible Yahoo account to get into the face Facebook account and shut it down.

    I could find no 'paper' trail to figure out where this guy was from. But on the face Facebook account, there were various 'likes' for various Filipino university-related items. I was hoping for one of the usual suspects, like the Czech Republic, Brazil or South Korea.

    No harm done, really. Except that people now think I'm as ugly as Brad Pitt.
  • RE: My first Facebook imposter experience.

    I too was hacked, in Facebook, from the Phillipines. I never figured out how to shut the imposter out and ended up shutting down my FB account (at least as much as FB allows). It seemed no matter how many times I changed my password, the person shadowing me hacked it. It wasn't keystroke tracking as far as I know, since it didn't matter which computer I used to change the password. I got very tired of changing my p/word several times a day. I could see the spurious email (not one of my old ones) but had no way of getting a response out of a real person at FB. Ergo, account shut-down. I only miss it from time to time. It was a handy way to stay in touch with friends, but not worth the hassle in the end.
    Peter Malcolm
  • RE: My first Facebook imposter experience.

    I have about 600 wannabe friends on facebook.
    I have about 6 friends.
    I don't friend the friends of friends' friends.
    If I don't know them, they cannot be friends, but then I'm also a bit old school where a friend is relational, and relationships have commitments of one sort or another.
    Acquaintences are NOT friends period.
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