A new Facebook hoax is doing the rounds, and if you haven’t already received it in your Messenger inbox, you probably will soon enough.
The message will come into your inbox from a Facebook friend that you’re connected with on Messenger.
“Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept Jayden K. Smith friendship request,” it warns. “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.”
It goes on to ask that you forward the message to your own Messenger contacts.
Jayden K. Smith is the latest incarnation, but there have been various versions of this warning message in the past, some naming the ‘hacker’ as Anwar Jitou or Anwar Jitu, or as Maggie from Sweden, Bobby Roberts, Jason or Amy Allen, among many others.
But Snopes, the well-known fact-checking site that debunks urban myths, internet hoaxes and the like, points out that the claim that accepting a friend request can give anyone access to your PC or online accounts is rubbish.
“Of course, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that an e-mail message or a link posted on Facebook might carry a virus payload which could infect your computer and allow it be controlled by a botnet,” Snopes says. “But virus warnings that correspond to the patterns detailed above can be safely dismissed as japes.”
As the Times Union blog bluntly advises, “The only way to protect your account — or at least attempt to — from hackers is to have a strong password, not leave your account logged on when you leave a shared computer, and to be vigilant. Oh, and use some common sense.”
So when you receive a warning from a friend about Jayden K. Smith, you can trust that it’s safe to ignore it.