Facebook is full of engagement announcements, cute puppy videos, and invitations to parties! It facilitates a feeling of community and fun. But Facebook scammers prey on that feeling, expecting Facebook users to trust just about anyone who ads them as a “Friend.” Some top Facebook scams work to access your personal information, including your home address, and even security system codes. Here is a look at the top five Facebook scams that put your home security at risk.
Who viewed your profile
This scam preys on our vanity and our own paranoia. Most people who click on it either want to be flattered by discovering who is interested in their life, or they want to protect themselves by making sure no suspicious characters, old angry significant others, or even employers, are prying into their personal matters. Those are both large draws to click on this add, but it’s fake–there’s no such software that can track and show you who looks at your profile. What this software does do is secretly install spyware into your computer that watches everything you do. For your own safety, never type information about your home in an email, a private Facebook message, or anywhere online. Do not email the babysitter to tell her where you’re leaving the spare key, do not mass email your family to tell them the new gate code, and don’t email someone to let them know you left the backdoor unlocked for them. This information can easily get into the wrong hands, so give it by phone, or in person.
Ads for services that seem too good to be true
You might see adds for dating services you’ve never heard of, claiming to have 3,000 members in your neighborhood! Oh, and it’s totally free! Maybe you see an ad for a free ipad, if you simply fill out a survey. But then, in order to “sign up” for this dating service or free ipad, you have to fill out information such as your home address. If the ad looks too goo to be true, and most likely is. And if it asks you for personal information like your address or social security number, it is a scam. No reputable dating site or surveying company asks for this information.
Facebook Yard Sales
Facebook gives you the ability to create events that are called “Yard Sales.” These are essentially pages where you, or anyone selling something, can post what they are trying to get rid of. But it’s very easy for a stranger to sneak into a Yard Sale page, pretend to be selling something of very high value for a very low price, and offer to deliver it to your home. If you do use Facebook Yard Sale and you see a seller who you don’t recognize, always research further. Make sure you have a substantial number of friends in common with this person, and don’t hesitate to ask your mutual friends if they know the seller. Don’t ever invite a seller to your home–meet at a public space.
Facebook identity theft
People shut down and reopen Facebook pages all of the time as a form of going through a social media cleanse. But if a “friend” ever messages you from a new profile, and hasn’t deactivated his original one, beware; this could be identity theft. It’s easy for hackers to snag photos and information off of somebody’s page and create a duplicate one. From here, they can message that person’s friends and ask for things such as that friend’s home address, claiming they just want to send a card. If anything like this happens, immediately call that friend and ask if they have been hacked.
The color change
You would be surprised how many people want to change the default blue background colors on Facebook, so much so that a scam has been created around it. In this scam, an ad pops up claiming that if you simply hand over your Facebook login information, that you can change the color of your profile. But once the scammers have that information, they can easily do things like look at private events you created to find your home address.
When using Facebook, always remember that reputable companies and real services do not ask for information like logins, passwords, and addresses. Facebook should just be a place to have fun, connect, and promote causes and events. Unfortunately, some scammers use it for bad, and if you’re not aware of them, your home could be at risk.