Have you ever gotten a friend request on Facebook from someone you thought you were already friends with? Chances are, it’s a fake account. Scammers steal a person’s online identity and then friend all of their friends in order to get their personal information. There’s a lot you can find out.

“Just being their friend on Facebook, you can find out their date of birth, you can find out where they work, you can find out phone numbers, email addresses, family names,” says Kristina Barrett with the Computer Crew in Mobile.

Kristina Barrett’s with the Computer Crew told me this happened to her brother-in-law. An imposter took his picture and information and started talking to all his friends.

“He was like, oh god, what information do they have of mine now because these are his friends and they’re sharing information back and forth with somebody they don’t know,” says Barrett.

That’s just it—folks these days tend to drop their defenses when they log online.

“In a social media setting we’re all wanting to be friendly, I mean that’s kind of the goal!”

If you get a duplicate friend request, just call your friend and ask if they made a second account. You may also get friend requests from people you’ve never heard of—steer clear of those as well.

“You know we are so trusting when we’re on the internet because we think that everyone is out for the best intentions and that’s not always going to be the case,” says Barrett.

Ways to protect yourself–Tighten your Facebook security settings—so that only friends can see your activity—not friends of friends and not everyone. And don’t accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know—period! Now this can also happen on other social media sites like LinkedIn and dating sites, so beware!