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Tech Tip: Quashing Clones on Facebook

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Facebook’s Report tool can be used to alert the company to bad behavior and other problems. Credit The New York Times

Q. Someone seems to have duplicated my Facebook account and is sending out requests to my friends pretending to be me. I can still get into my page and have warned my friends, but how do I alert Facebook to this scammer?

A. Impostor accounts are not uncommon on Facebook, and the company does not allow them. If you are sure the account in question is clearly fake — and not one you created early on in your Facebook membership and then forgot about — you can report it to the social network directly from the fraudulent-profile page.

When you are on the impostor account page, click the three-dot More menu in the bottom-right corner of the cover photo and select Report. In the box that pops up, select Report This Account and follow the instructions on screen.

If the impostor account has blocked you from getting to the page, ask one of your Facebook friends to report it, and you will receive a message containing a link so that you can then follow through with the process yourself. You can also report fake accounts for your friends by using the Report This Account menu. For people who do not have Facebook accounts — but impostors have created a false profile anyway — Facebook has a public form in its Help Center that can be used by nonmembers to report the problem.

Identity theft in any form can have serious repercussions if the impostor was trying to get financial or other personal information for additional crimes. If you want to see what was posted by the impersonator during the ruse, Facebook advises first contacting a lawyer or local law enforcement official to discuss your options. The site has a list of operational guidelines for law enforcement authorities that details how the company handles these requests and the legal documents required to pursue the case.

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NYT > Technology

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