Playing Social Networking Dodge Ball: Don’t Let Scam and Fraud Warnings Scare You Away from Facebook

You’ve probably heard the stories of Facebook scams and fraud that have been circulating recently. While it’s important to be aware of these potential scams and acts of fraud through Facebook, there is no reason to delete your profile or fan page!

A recent article posted on Yahoo! highlights a few ways that some groups and individuals have been using Facebook to run scams. Over the past year, social networking sites such as Facebook have risen to fourth place from 17th for “most treacherous web terrain,” right behind sites for software-sharing, which most of us already know to avoid.

With over 500 million members, Facebook has become one of many targets for scams and fraud. A Facebook profile connects hundreds of friends, and most of us are so trusting that we’ll click any link, video, or status update a friend posts. As a precaution, even if a post or comment was made by a friend, read the entire message before clicking any links, as malware software could be installed on your computer by clicking links posted by scammers. Current security software can combat this, so it’s a good idea to always have the latest technology to protect yourself.

The article notes that Internet users have a tendency to use the same password for everything; from work computers to bank accounts to Facebook. Scammers know this, and try desperately to get the password to your Facebook account because it’s likely it’s your password for everything else. An obvious fix to this problem is to have separate passwords for things. However, some scammers are even more cunning and go even farther, getting at you through a variety of phishing attempts that appear to be games or widgets.

You should always be careful about what applications and games you allow access to your Facebook profile, and it’s definitely worth a few minutes to see what exactly this access entails. Often you will find by reading their terms and conditions that you are giving them permanent access to your profile and even your friends’ profiles.

There are other ways scammers try to get information from you or about you in an attempt to gain access to your profile, bank accounts, and more. Always be on alert for possible scams. If something looks like it could be harmful to your account or your computer, it probably is.

It is important to remember that Facebook offers users a lot of flexibility in regards to what information they want shared, and with whom. You can update your Facebook privacy settings so that only certain people can view your photos, you status updates, and certain parts of your profile. You are also able to control what information about you Facebook shares with search engines and gaming apps and other apps on the site. You can also block apps from accessing your information and contacting you. Being careful with what information you share can help protect you from scammers.

With so many benefits to social networking; like connecting with friends and potential clients; you shouldn’t discard social networking out of fear of possible scams or fraud. While the chances of your Facebook profile being affected are slim, it can’t hurt to be aware, not only in relation to your Facebook account, but in regards to any other online account as well.

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