Recent reports indicate that Facebook identity theft is a growing problem in the US as well as the UK. Facebook provides little protection for personal information posted in the profile of its members. When the purpose of Facebook is to identify and stay in touch with friends, it is counterproductive to use privacy settings on your profile.
A public profile is available to any member who wants to read it. A private profile is limited to the friends you choose to be on your list. New members are immediately flooded with invitations from strangers to be on that person’s friends list. While the dictionary definition of friend is: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a stranger is defined as a person with whom one has had no personal acquaintance.
Logically we would never accept a similar request to be our friend if a stranger on the street was the one doing the asking. That would be dangerous. Illogically, we immediately accept online strangers who send a request to be a friend. One reason we do this is the Internet seems to shield us from harm. That is untrue, especially with the fact that Facebook identity theft is increasing rapidly.
Facebook gains a ridiculous amount of new users every day. Even Facebook can’t give out an accurate number. There are more than 200 million active users, 100 million of those using it everyday! How safe are you? It depends on whom you ask. In Telegraph.co.uk, reporter Harry Wallop quotes Chris Kelly as claiming that “Facebook’s network architecture and privacy controls limit the availability of personal data to networks and people that have been confirmed as friends. Our extensive privacy settings and security measures empower our users and make it very difficult to get to personal information and misuse it.”
Third-party applications are another concern. You can install a widget or a fun game to play with your friends. These small software programs may install more than you expect. Malicious and invisible programs may be included that are capable of grabbing your information and using it in Facebook identity theft scams. An educated computer programmer can create a program that will steal your data in about three hours.
One other major safety concern is when an identity thief acquires your home address. The individual committing Facebook identity theft could pose a serious threat. The thief could potentially start stalking you or even physically harm you. By protecting your information, you are protecting yourself!!!
These three basic tips are common sense but not everyone follows them:
Safety rule #1 – Keep personal information private.
Safety rule #2 – Never send money to anyone who asks for it on the Internet.
Safety rule #3 – Be aware that you could be the next victim of Facebook identity theft.