I know the title sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but its just an alert about the return of the scam artists that clone your Facebook account. Its rather akin to mosquito season.
The first thing to know is that your account has not been hacked. The cloners have simply grabbed anything on your profile page that is public. This includes having your friends' list. The scammers are counting on a portion of those individuals to automatically accept any friend's request that comes through, or to be too distracted to note that you are already their friend.
What is achieved by all of this? This allows the scammers to message their newfound "friends," and do what scammers do best - ask for money. They are counting on at least one or two people to be very openhearted and naive.
What you can do:
1. Never automatically accept a friend request until you have checked to see if you are already friends.
2. If it is a duplicate request then report it as a clone.
3. If your account has been cloned post the fact on your Facebook page periodically over the next couple of weeks.
4. In order to prevent being cloned go in and lock down your friends' list. This is done from your profile page.
5. Then go into Settings, and check your "Security and Login" and "Privacy" to see what is available to the public.
6. And it never hurts to occasionally run a security check.
Please pass this information along. The more people who lock down their Facebook page the less opportunity the scammers have of creating clones.
Its been nearly two years since I have written a blog, or even paid much attention to my own marketing. This is a rather sad admittance from a social media marketer, but as I have often half-kidded, I am like the cobbler with the shoeless children.
Its not that I wasn't aware of how poorly it looked to have my business social media sitting unused. Yet, its hard to worry about my own when I am making sure my clients' marketing is taken care of.
What made me sit back and realize that I needed to make time for my own marketing, and strengthen my strategy, is that I began getting calls from people. And these people were telling me that they were finding me from Facebook and Google searches.
It is time for me to practice what I preach - that now my reputation is laid bare online.
And it's not just a problem for me, but for most businesses that don't have an actual marketing department to monitor their online presence.
I have had many people say, "I get my clients by word of mouth," or "I'm in good networking groups." There is no arguing that knowing someone, or being referred, gives you a stronger bond with the perspective client. This usually is how I come by my clients.
However, this is ignoring those prospective clients who have a problem to solve, and they are searching. So if you don't have a sign on that road they never are going to know you. Or worse yet, get a damaged first impression because you aren't showing off your products or skills well.
Now, when people want to learn about about a business, they have powerful research tools in their phone. If say, they wanted a plumber, they choose from the search the ones that look promising, then they take a look at the websites, and they also do a quick search of the review sites, such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If they find an active Facebook page they will also spend time seeing what is said, and being said, about the business.
I also have had it said to me, "But I Have A Website!"
Websites are important as they provide an anchor for your online presence, and they allow for a fuller description of what you do. However, websites are static. Social media gives a greater feel for what the business is like. So if a prospective client is having to decide between comparable businesses they are more than likely to go to one that is vibrant and active.
At last I am again practicing what I preach. I am making time in my weekly schedule to use best practices for my business social media. Its definitely time for me to get some shoes on!
The fact that Facebook is constantly changing often seems to be a curse, particularly if you are just on Facebook for personal use. However, for businesses it is usually a blessing in disguise, because many of those changes offer more ways to enhance your business page.
It can be a challenge to keep up with these tools, because of the variety, and the fact that many of them show up unheralded.
So I am putting together a short overview of some of the tools and best practices. Some of these have been around for a couple of years, and a few were just recently added. I am not going to try to cover all of them, but this should give you a good start on what is available.
It really is time to take your Facebook page seriously, because your clients and Facebook definitely are. Gone are the days when businesses and not-for-profits can expect to reach their followers' newsfeeds with an occasional post, or a fun quote.
Remember, mobile is ever-growing, and most of your customers are doing a great deal of their decision making on their smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Facebook is designing their various tools to help reach mobile devices.
Facebook Page Templates.
This is fairly new it allows for more control over how your page is organized. Its not really fancy yet, which I am sure will change, but it allows you to prioritize your tabs in order of what you consider important.
Just about everyone is familiar with a post, a photo, or a photo album, but many have not explored the options for: slideshow, carousel, or canvas (for mobile).
The reach of a Facebook post is now contingent on not only being visually attractive, but leading to some type of worthwhile content. Businesses and not-for-profits have to seek a balance between promotion, images, and solid, useful, content.
It is also contingent on consistent posting, and using your insights to learn audience behavior, and hit your key audience times.
Nor can you get away from Facebook Ads. While they do not require a large commitment of money Facebook does look more favorably on clients that pay for ads.
Facebook Live is a currently a mobile tool, but offers many ways to reach your followers and clients.
Video is powerful on all of the social media, and Facebook is particularly fond of video that is embedded on their own pages. This can be Facebook Live, a slide show video, or something that has been uploaded.
Facebook Live also allows for real time interaction with clients and followers.
This is for businesses with products, and gives you the opportunity to sell from your business page. It also offers the opportunity to focus your adds on your product catalog.
People are fairly familiar with this, but it also is developing and offering new insights into your followers and customers.
This offers you a great deal of control over your posts and videos. The categories are:
Currently this is used mainly for people who are managing multiple accounts. However, more functions require using business manager.
Facebook Ads Manager
This is part of your Business Manager, but it can be used separately. It allows for better organization, and better tracking, of your ads. This, plus the range of ads types, gives you greater flexibility than a boost would have.
Types of Facebook Ads
As other aspects of the business pages on Facebook expand so do their ads. They not only offer you a variety of ways to focus your ads and target audience, but they offer a variety of ways to make the ads very attractive visually.
You also have the ability to run your ad on Instagram, and to have your ads reach beyond just Facebook. Right now this depends on the type of ad, and in the case of video, its length.
I know that all of the options can seem overwhelming. However, Facebook does offer good training in their Business Resources.
As with all projects it is always best to define your objective, and set up a plan on how to reach that objective. Ask yourself, "Who am I trying to reach?" "Where are they located?" "What do they like?" "How old are they?"
If you take your Facebook marketing in small steps, and familiarize yourself with the tools that best meet your needs, then you will be able to better reach your clients.
I first noticed something about some of the Facebook Friends requests when I would see profile pictures that didn't quite match the name. The one that comes to mind is the picture of a grandmotherly looking woman with a guy's name. Or the pictures that didn't match the nationality of the name. Granted these signs don't mean these aren't real people. However, when I clicked on the profiles I noted that usually the profiles only had the profile picture and no biographical information about the people. The other give away is that their "friends" were usually "celebrity" people.
At this point I didn't have a label for this, but when I started to see posts like this:
"[Collected via Facebook, January 2013] - Snopes.com
Please be careful: some hackers have found something new. They take your profile picture and your name and create a new FB account. Then they ask your friends to add them. Your friends think it is you, so they accept. From that moment on they can say and post whatever they want under your name. Please don't accept a second friendship demand from me, I have only one account. "
It turns out that it is called "Facebook Cloning" or "Facebook Pirates."
And I must have run into to really inept Cloners/Pirates, since the ones I had seen couldn't match name to face. According to the various articles usually the scammers are somewhat more subtle.
One vital point is that thankfully this not hacking of accounts. The scammers are endeavoring to win the trust of your friends in order to move forward with requests for money, or other scams.
A few things you can do to protect yourself against being cloned is to choose when you post who can see your photos and posts. This setting will remain until you change it in a another post.
The other thing that be done is checking out who you are becoming "Friends" with. Some of the telltale features of a cloned account is the lack of posts, or a lot of redundant posts. Also check out their "Friends" section. Does it only have few? Or does it have a lot of "celebrities?"
Of course, if you see a friend request come through of someone you know just double check your own "Friends" section, and see if they are already there.
If you are just using Facebook to connect with family and friends then limiting who can see your posts to just "friends," and not accepting strangers' requests, are recommended.
However business people need to recognize that Facebook is a good networking tool. If you decide that it is better to be more approachable then researching who sends you a "Friend" request will be worth the time. As will choosing who sees a post on a "post by post" basis.
Facebook Pirates Warning alerts social media users that Facebook 'pirates' are copying other users' profiles.
Viral Facebook Post Warns About Facebook Cloning – Warning is ValidBy Brett M. Christensen
When someone hears Malware Protection, they often think about anti-virus and anti-malware software. The industry would like you to believe it is the number one factor to help prevent malware from destroying your data and files.
Unfortunately anti-virus software has a pretty miserable detection/success rate. Norton (maker of Symantec Anti-Virus) has said that 55% of all malicious attacks pass straight through their software. It’s only getting worse over time.
I have fixed many systems infected with Malware. One thing I find in common is the misconception people have that it protects them well. So what is the solution? Backups.
Data backups help to ensure your data and files are not lost only to natural disasters, but also intentional and malicious attacks. Unfortunately many people have another misconception about protection. That is, they believe just backing up their files to an external hard drive or flash drive, and keeping this in their home, is a good solution.
While any backup is a good backup, you want to make sure you have several different types of backups:
1) A rotating/revolving backup
a. Definition: Backing up updated/new files to a reusable medium, such as a flash drive, external hard drive, re-writable DVD, etc.
b. Pros: Quick and easy. It is also very cost effective since reusing same media.
c. Cons: You may backup corrupt files and overwrite “good” files with “bad” versions. This can happen if your hard drive begins to develop bad sectors, your computer gets infected with Ransomware (encrypting all your files), or hackers/viruses/malware damage. The media itself may become corrupted as it ages, leaving some of your backed up files unrecoverable. This may also be susceptible to Ransomware infecting your backed up files as the external media is plugged into the computer (scary).
2) Periodic snapshot backups
a. Definition: Full backups of your data on “write once” media, such as CDs, DVDs, cheap flash drives, etc. Typically should be performed every 1 to 3 months.
b. Pros: Prevents data corruption issues as described in 1c above. If you do discover files were corrupted a year ago (that you just now tried to access), you can go back to the snapshot before this and recover most of your files.
c. Cons: Much slower and may be more expensive in the long run.
3) Local backup
a. Definition: The backup media is stored at the same location as the device that was the source of the backup.
b. Pros: Easy and convenient. Also easy/quick to restore. Typically more secure since data backup is not hooked up to a network/Internet, and only physical access (theft) can result in data being stolen.
c. Cons: Natural disasters can destroy your backups/data, leaving you with nothing.
4) Remote offline backup
a. Definition: The backup media is stored at a different/remote location, unconnected to any network. An example is a safe deposit box at a bank.
b. Pros: Extremely safe from natural disasters and hackers/thieves.
c. Cons: Very inconvenient because of physical transportation of backups. Possible added expense for renting/owning the remote location.
5) Remote online backup
a. Definition: The backup media is stored at a different/remote location and is online/connected to the Internet/network. This is typically thought of as cloud storage.
b. Pros: Very convenient. Can be configured to happen automatically in the background. Depending on cloud solution, can possibly even have snapshots/versions of data backups.
c. Cons: Much more prone to hackers gaining access to your data. Good encryption architecture (in which you choose the password) can definitely help, but nothing connected to a network is “hack proof”.
6) Different physical media backups
a. Definition: The physical material/architecture that stores the data backup.
b. Typical/Modern Types:
i. Optical (DVD, CD, etc.)
1. Drive is mechanical to spin disc
2. Light used to read data
ii. Solid-state drives (Flash, SSDs, etc.)
2. No moving parts
iii. Hard disk drives
1. Drive and storage media is mechanical
2. Magnetic (could be wiped out from powerful magnetic surge)
If you cover all these bases, you should feel confident your data will be protected from pretty much all perspectives (fire, flood, tornado, malicious software, hackers, etc.). Does that mean you should do snapshot backups on all the different media types? Not necessarily. You could mix in different types every so many months, just to ensure you haven’t “put all your eggs in one basket”. The longevity of some media is still relatively unknown, so it’s always best to use different types (especially for critical data that you never want to lose).
If you do happen to get infected with malware that damages/destroys your data, no problem! You can simply restore to what you had before because you were wise and followed good backup procedures. Your biggest cost will be paying an expert to remove the malware and/or the time loss for performing a potential system restore. It’s never too early to start, so I recommend doing so today.
Note: In addition to malware removal, we provide secure and encrypted cloud backups using our ES Imaging product. For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.everlastsoftware.com.
Owner of Everlast Software, LLC
When someone passes those nearest know that friends and business associates will be grieving. But in our ever expanding world that is fueled by the internet there are now virtual friends out there. Maybe the deceased never met these people. Maybe these folks live a continent away. But they took pleasure in a friendly word, the funny posts, or the insightful blogs.
Then - suddenly there is silence.
These virtual friends were as much legitimate acquaintances as the folks in the community, and the deceased will be just as missed.
A recent death brought this home to me, though the deceased was a 19-year old dog. Through Bark N’ Rest’s Facebook postings many of us have learned the stories, and learned to love, the permanent residents of this unique shelter. Sugar Bear was elderly dog whose story many of us had followed. And when her age caught up with her virtual friends shared a few of her last hours of being spoiled by the family, and then grieved with the family when Sugar Bear passed on.
We learn the stories of our internet friends. We pray for them if they are ill, and we offer our support during their battles. And we grief at the times when those battles are lost.
Notices, or memorial pages, are much like the obituary. It answers the question of what happened. Of why there was suddenly just silence. And allows for a means of closure, and the ability to celebrate a life. Even if it was a life shared across the internet.
No matter whether family is having to go through personal effects, or handling bills, or dealing with computer accounts, many find it very hard to look upon the reminder of a life now gone. Often times the reaction is to deactivate the email and various accounts. However, what many don't realize is that in some cases deactivation is not actually deleting an account, and can be reversed.
The various social media platforms now require prove of death, and relationship, before accounts can be managed. However, they do offer various ways of handling the accounts.
Facebook requires the survivors to contact them. They will never give out account information, but after proving that a death has taken place, and that you are the representative, you can request one of three actions. One is to request that the site be memorialized; this means that people can add to the timeline, and messages, but other than that nothing else can be changed. The second action is to deactivate; this is a reversible action, and the family can later decide to memorialize. The last action is to delete the account, and this is a permanent action.
Twitter requires all documentation to be mailed in. They will not give out account information, but with the correct documentation they will deactivate the account.
Google always seems to be thinking ahead, and offers the "Inactive Account Manager" so that you can decide how your many Google accounts are to be handled. You can decide if trusted contacts will have access to your accounts, or if your email and data will be deleted after an allotted amount of time.
Pinterest requires full documentation of a death, and relationship, to deactivate an account. The family member needs to first send an email to their customer support.
Linkedin requires an online form to remove a member's profile, along with proper paperwork.
Instagram and Tumblr require you to contact their support emails, and representatives will then contact the family with the needed requirements.
Many funeral homes are now creating checklists that can be used to make sure accounts have been dealt with. These same checklists can help with pre-planning, and provide the family with account information that allows for easier handling of the accounts.
Still many would think that this is trivial compared to more pressing concerns of final arrangements, and financial concerns. However, internet accounts should be considered just as vital, since inactive accounts can be gateways to identity theft, and that is the last thing a family needs as they try to deal with the intricacies of death.
Even more pressing is when the deceased was a business owner. Whether the business has employees, or the business owner was the only staff, those accounts are vulnerable. For businesses, particularly businesses with one or two employees, it is necessary to have a trusted associate have your sign-in information. If the business is going to continue you will not want accounts, such as Twitter, deactivated.
Granted not many of us want to consider the hour of our demise, but most are coming to realize that funeral pre-planning is a good way to ease the way for our survivors, or to at least make sure that our final wishes are carried out.
The same can be said with internet pre-planning.
Make sure you have accounts and passwords listed somewhere, and then make sure that list is kept with your executor or funeral home. Also make sure to periodically update those lists, since we always end up with new accounts, or password changes.
Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest accounts are not normally high on the list of priorities when you are considering your final wishes. However, social media now effects every part of our lives and businesses, and in a three part series I will look at how it can impact the survivors.
I will grant that as a discussion topic this was far from my thoughts; at least not until I found myself reading a Facebook memorial service for an acquaintance. She and I had only reconnected on social media a few months past, and not soon after I noted a post where she said she was having a minor medical procedure done. Then came a flurry of sympathy posts for her passing, and her sister turned the deceased's Facebook page into a memorial site.
The end result of this was I ended up interviewing the owners of Butler Funeral Home about how the funeral industry was handling social media.
The first thing that Mr. Butler said was that whatever the medium used the human impulse to share news, and to give support, doesn't change. However, that with social media the spread of the news has sped up. He mentioned that this is something that families might want to take into consideration when using social media to announce a passing.
When death happens there is a desperate need to reach out to the living, and in telling of the death to try to deal with the reality. Smart phones, laptops, and tablets make it far easier to reach out to friends and acquaintances, but the speed of communication sometimes out runs more traditional means. Mr. Butler said they have heard of families who heard about a death on Facebook before the official call came.
The speed of interaction can also be a blessing for those directly involved, because it does allow of nearly instantaneous outpouring of sympathy, and help. It is also a way to share out funeral arrangements, and funeral homes are helping with this by linking obituaries to their social media.
The Facebook accounts, and other social media, can also offer a place to share memories, which is particularly helpful for friends and acquaintances that can't be there in person. And if desired that page can be turned into a permanent tribute to the deceased.
Recently I was delighted to learn that White Fox Social Media would be working for Dankor Development Company, and Central Illinois Ventures, on the new Metropolitan Place, and Joan Reilly Smith Cultural Center. Mr. Dan Mulcahy and Mr. Irv Smith are busy renovating the First United Methodist Church in downtown Springfield, Il into the Metropolitan Place.
My participation was thanks to ZG Worldwide, and it was also thanks to Mr. Mulcahy, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Soliwon that ZG Worldwide Associates were able to have front row seats (or at least curb side on Capitol Avenue) for the 4th of July fireworks.
To describe the weather for the evening as "perfect" would have been an understatement. And I was able to indulge in one of my newer pastimes of photography, and had challenged myself to try and get photographs of the fireworks.
In the course of several conversations with business associates, and friends, I have been reminded of one of the often unrecognized differences in social media usage. There are two different cultures when it comes to business pages and personal pages. But many people are unaware of these cultures. While we were discussing her unused facebook business page an acquaintance said, "Well, we won't be pursuing social media. I have known too many friends and family who get really upset when trying to decide to "unfriend" someone. It just takes up time."
And amongst friends, particularly when I have commented on part of a post on my personal page, I am asked, "Haven't you been following the discussion?" Usually the answer is, "no." Not because I don't care about what is happening with my friends, but because my main social media time is for my business.
Now I will grant that the line can blur in social media, particularly if business associates are following your personal page. And friends are following your business. Yet, there are still differences in the cultures. And I compare it to the difference between a business lunch, and a cookout.
The first difference obviously are the topics. At a business lunch the discussion is more focused. At a leisurely cookout the topics could flow all over the board.
Behavior is another. Professionalism normally holds sway over a business luncheon with the associates behaving with a certain level of decorum. At a cookout you might kick back, and relax. Or show your true feelings.
Transparency is one of the keywords of social media. So business people do need to be more aware of what they put on their personal pages, and to whom the post goes to when you write something.
There are ways to post to only close friends, and to avoid seeing postings from "friends" that annoy you, even if you don't want to "unfriend" them.
With business pages you are focusing on the story, and brand, you want to present to the public, and that is with the full understanding that what is posted is public. If personally a business owner doesn't want to be involved with social media there are ways to make personal pages fairly private.
So there is no reason to consider social media just an exercise in a high school mindset of "they don't like me anymore." You can go to the business lunch, but if you want, you can turn down the invitation to the cookout.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.