Social media users, beware! Have you seen this message recently? It has taken the Internet by storm—but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
“Please tell all the contacts in your Messenger list, not to accept Jayden K Smith friendship request,” the message reads. “He is a hacker and has the system connected to your Facebook account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it.”
The message claims that a hacker is behind the account, and warns that accepting the friend request will compromise your own Facebook account. But as well meaning as the message may seem, we have some bad news for you. It’s a total hoax.
For one, no one has found evidence that someone named Jayden K Smith is adding lots of other users. Plus, it’s nearly impossible for a user to hack into an account by simply becoming a friend; they would normally need your password, or to convince you to download a virus onto your PC or mobile device, according to the Daily Mirror. Facebook’s moderators also monitor unusual user behavior, so any account sending out large numbers of friend requests (which is against the website’s terms and conditions) would immediately raise some alarms.
This isn’t the first time we’ve all been fooled. Apparently, the scam has been going around for years, using different names such as Anwar Jitou, Tanner Dwyer and Bobby Roberts, Snopes reports. (Here’s what happens after hackers steal your credit card information.)
If you’ve shared the message recently, don’t worry—it’s completely harmless. As for those on the receiving end, you can safely delete it. Just make sure to warn whoever sent it to you that it is a hoax before they send it along to anyone else.
To protect yourself against future scams, read up on the tricks that hackers use for internet security scams (and how to avoid them!)