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How to Avoid the Latest Facebook Scam

Raul Vargas

While it’s become the norm to share personal information on social media sites like Facebook, users will want to be extra cautious of what they post online and who they share it with, as the risk of identity theft is rising.

A Facebook page could be a “gold mine” for ID thieves, since it contains personal information that could lead hackers to identify passwords, Main Street reported this week.

“Social media often contains the secrets to crack a password reset,” Robert Siciliano, a security expert with McAfee Online, told the source. “When we answer the ‘knowledge based questions’ in a password reset, they can often be found on our social media profiles.”

This becomes especially dangerous when Facebook users accept friend requests from people they do not even know, Main Street said. At least 25 percent of Facebook users approve requests from strangers, according to some estimates.

“If you tell me your date of birth and where you’re born [on Facebook] I’m 98 percent [of the way] to stealing your identity,” said FBI security expert Frank Abagnale, Digital Trends reported. “Never state your date of birth and where you were born [on personal profiles], otherwise you are saying ‘come and steal my identity’.”

Facebook users should consider using group photos as their profile picture instead of an individual photo, Abagnale said. He also suggested being wary of what comments you make on Facebook to protect yourself from identity theft.

“Every time you say you ‘like’ or ‘don’t like’ you are telling someone [things like] your sexual orientation, ethnic background, voting record,” he said.

Facebook Scams on the Rise

When fraudsters create fake posts that solicit likes or votes from Facebook users – that can lead to social media users oversharing their personal information. This is because some of these posts direct people to a website asking for their contact details — like a phone number.

And criminals, as always, are getting smarter about how they get your data. Digital Trends detailed the experience of Greg Boyle, marketing manager for antiviral software company Trend Micro, who was sent an email notification telling him someone on Facebook had tagged him in pictures. The email looked similar to the real notifications Facebook sends out. However, Boyle realized it was a fraudulent email that was attempting to send him to a site that intended to download malware automatically on his computer.

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