Facebook users, beware of this viral friend request hoax. (REUTERS)
At first glance, it appears like a friend is trying to warn you about your Facebook account potentially being hacked — but it's actually a hoax. Facebook users who are receiving these friendly reminders are being urged to resist heeding the advice.
Messages that have circulated on the social media platform in recent days have all been worded similarly to this: "Hi....I actually got another friend request from you which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears...then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too....I had to do the people individually. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A NEW friendship FROM ME AT THIS TIME."
A Facebook spokesman told Fox News Tuesday these messages are taking the form of a "'chain mail' type of notice."
"We’ve heard that some people are seeing posts or messages about accounts being cloned on Facebook," the spokesman confirmed. Cloning occurs when a scammer copies your entire profile, including your name and photos, and creates a second identical account with hopes of gaining access to your friends' profiles. Once they get accepted as a friend, they attempt to get personal information.
While thousands of people have been targeted with these posts, which myth-busting site Snopes.com renders "useless," that doesn't mean a large number of Facebook accounts have actually been hacked. Users should exercise caution when they spot statuses that request them to copy and paste language, Facebook advises — adding users should, however, report any real cases of fraudulent accounts they see.
"Accounts and Pages that impersonate other people aren't allowed on Facebook. If you see an account that's pretending to be you, someone you know, or a public figure (example: celebrity, politician), we encourage you to let us know," Facebook states on its platform.
If you believe your account has been duplicated, Snopes suggests checking in with some of your Facebook friends to see if they got a new friend request from a profile that resembles yours. If they haven't, it's likely the warning you received was a hoax.
This particular scheme won't negatively impact you — you're simply spreading fake information.
Facebook users have seen these chain mail-like messages before.
In recent years, Facebook users have also spread false messages declaring Facebook was going to make all posts public or claim copyright to your material.
Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.