Warnings are spreading online that claim readers should not accept friend requests from people named Christopher Davies or Jessica Davies because they are hackers.
The warning claims that if you accept them as a friend then they can figure out your computer IP address. An example of the warning can be seen below.
Do not accept a friend request from Christopher Davies and Jessica Davies they are hackers tell everyone on your list because if they accept it they will be on your list too he will find out your computer IP address, so copy and paste to everyone you know even if u don’t care.
This was sent to me , so I am passing it on.
A 2017 version added a few extra names –
DO NOT ACCEPT A FRIEND REQUEST FROM AGENT SHARON ANDERSON TERRY, ARNECIA DOWNING, CHRISOPHER DAVIES, AND JESSICA DAVIES THEY ARE HACKERS! TELL EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST BECAUSE IF SOMEBODY ON YOUR LIST ADDS HIM, HE’LL BE ON YOUR LIST TOO. HE’LL FIGURE OUT UR COMPUTER’S ID AND ADDRESS , SO COPY & PASTE THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE EVEN IF U DON’T CARE.
(2016/17 versions of this rumour also appends the “Dance of the Pope” virus HOAX at the end. This is also nonsense, and we discuss it separately here.)
The warning is fake. It is also old. It is also unoriginal. And it is also doesn’t make any sense.
The assertion that there are “hackers” on the Internet trying to lure you into adding them as online contacts so they can either give you a virus or “hack” your computer is certainly not a new niche of hoax. In fact it dates back to the “olden” days, when email – not social media – was the primary way to keep in contact online.
Chain emails would frequently warn of hackers trying to lure you into adding them into your email contact book and doing so would apparently result in your computer security becoming compromised. Then the hoax moved on, instead targeting users of messaging services like the now-defunct MSN Messenger software.
Take, for example, this classic from 2007…
If somebody called email@example.com adds you to msn dont accept it. Its a virus. Tell everyone on u r msn coz if somebody on r list adds them u get the virus too. copy and paste to everyone AND fast
Similar hoaxes quoting different names and emails also disseminated from one user to the next, asserting hackers were using the likes of Yahoo Messenger and AIM to lure you into accepting them as friends. More recent examples have also including both Facebook and WhatsApp, and each of these services have all seen their fair share of slightly-differently worded warnings. Take this almost identical version spreading across Facebook that we caught in 2010.
Don’t add anyone named rehana n 27 years from leicister .she is a hacker. Tell everyone on your buddy list because if someone on your buddy list adds her, she’ll be on your list too. She’ll figure out your computer ID and address. So copy and paste this message to everyone on your buddy list because if she hacks them your next. I sent to everyone on my list so please send to everyone on your list
Needless to say, all these “do not accept” warnings all suffer from the same fundamental flaws. Namely, if there are known hackers with such names, why wouldn’t the affected services (e.g. Facebook) just deactivate those accounts? Of course, the hackers could just create new accounts, but it would seem counterproductive to create them using the same account names.
However, there is even a bigger, more fundamental flaw at the heart of this brand of nonsense. And that is this… accepting someone as a friend/contact on social media sites like Facebook can’t give you a virus, nor does it grant someone access to your computer. The claim in the warning above that “he will find out your computer IP” is just pseudo-jargon nonsense that doesn’t really mean anything, since knowing someones computer IP address doesn’t give anyone access to your computer (your computer IP address isn’t secret, any website you visit can obtain it!)
With that said, accepting strangers on sites like Facebook is certainly not a good idea (we explain why here and here) and it flies in the face of sensible and responsible use of social media. It can compromise your privacy, and if can potentially expose you to certain Internet scams.
However, the warning about Christopher and Jessica Davies is an old warning that has been spreading since around 2009 and is based from hoaxes even older than that. There is not an ounce of credibility to it, and as such we do not recommend spreading it further.