Facebook has become a regular part of a daily routine. Worldwide, 500 million people use Facebook at least once per month and 250 million of those access it from their mobile devices. It has become a great place to document daily activities, reconnect with friends, meet new people and even get discounts from favorite brands and retailers. With all of these positives, however, comes a dark side of Facebook and social media use in general: scams. And more people are learning about the risk the hard way.
Below are a couple of the most common scams impacting Facebook users, as well as tips from reputable private investigators on how to stay safe, minimize your risk and protect your privacy.
Just because you trust Facebook does not mean you should trust every application on the site. Some are innocent enough, but others are built with malicious spyware that is intended to mine your data. Facebook has asked developers to ask for access to only the items that are absolutely necessary when it comes to user access to apps, but this does not mean that every app follows this rule. Before agreeing to any in-Facebook app download, or giving any access to your profile, do a little outside research online and see what you can find out about the company behind it and what other users have to say.
If an app asks you for your Facebook password to continue, or for credit card information, you should immediately report it. Facebook does not allow third-party apps to request your password and Facebook also oversees any purchases on it through its own billing. Never make payment via Western Union for an app for any reason, and do your research prior to downloading any application online.
You also want to avoid any unusual links sent to you by your Facebook “friends.” Some of the more popular scams include a fraudulent friend telling you to click on a link that contains a funny or bizarre photo of you. Once clicked, the user is redirected to a site that downloads malware. These scammers then have access to your profile and can perpetuate the scam to your friends. Facebook warns about what it calls “clickjacking” and tells users to be aware of what they are clicking before they do it. Never share your email address with anyone you don’t know or trust, as the scammers can then target your email address.
Facebook is not just for finding long-lost elementary school friends. There are many online groups and apps that will connect you with new people too. This is especially true when it comes to dating. While apps like Tinder and Zoosk are not fraudulent in and of themselves, they can often become a scammers’ paradise. Fraudsters will act like they have a shared interest, or that they are also looking for love, and befriend innocent Facebook app users. Sometimes these scammers send out warning signals early on, but in other cases they wait awhile before asking for money or other financial information. If you find that you are becoming particularly attached to someone, get a dating background check before things get serious – and NEVER give out personal data or money. Be skeptical of anyone you meet via the Internet.
Do you like to share online and post all your details on Facebook? Criminals love users like this. If you post your profile for the world to see, show your date of birth and full name, town where you live, and where you work, and when you go on vacation, you’re a prime candidate for identity theft, not to mention more serious crimes like having your house broke into while you’re traveling. Share less!
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Facebook scams and more are sure to arise as technology evolves. Never rely on Facebook, or any other site, to completely protect your privacy. Find out what exactly you are agreeing to for apps, and be careful when you decide to date online.
By looking more closely at the fine print and details, you can avoid dangerous apps and viruses. Never click on links you’re not 100% sure about. Remember to protect your privacy! The less others know about you online, the safer you and your family are. Law enforcement and private investigators know that criminals use the Internet as a hunting ground, and Facebook is becoming a prime target.
© 2014 Wymoo International
© Copyright 2014 Wymoo International. All Rights Reserved. This content is the property of Wymoo International, LLC and is protected by United States and international copyright laws.