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Don’t Fall for Fake Facebook Friends

b2ap3_thumbnail_friend400It’s a trap! As more people subscribe to social media networking sites, we can expect more scammers to weasel their way into our friend bases. Especially when using Facebook, you’ll need to be on the look out for scammers. Here are some warning signs of fake Facebook friends to consider in order to keep your profile safe.

We all love the feeling of a new friend request. Seeing that little red flag when we log into Facebook makes us feel important and excited that we have another friend out in the world (especially for those of us who thought the movie Napoleon Dynamite was a biography about our lives). However, it’s important to be careful and make sure that you know who the person is in real life, and that they’re somebody you trust. There are plenty of hackers in the social media world who are trying to snatch your personal information for their own gain, so be on your guard.

When you accept a friend request on Facebook, you give them permission to view a certain degree of your personal information, depending on your security settings. For users who don’t use security settings; your pictures, posts, interests, and contact information are available for all of your friends to see. This is exactly the information that a hacker wants to use. Hackers make fake Facebook profiles and send out thousands of friend requests to random people, hoping to access their personal information. However, before you confirm any friend request, you’ll want to do a little detective work. Do you recognize the person? Does their profile page look sketchy? Here are a few things to check that can help you determine if your new request is a friend you can trust.

Photos
The first and most instinctual step to checking the legitimacy of a user’s Facebook profile is to check their profile pictures. Hackers usually use fake profile pictures that look credible, but aren’t pictures associated with the actual given name on the profile (likely ripped from someone else’s profile). They may even add a few more pictures to their photo album to add credibility to the profile, but check to see if they are pictures are even of the same person (they likely won’t be). If the pictures don’t match, the account may not belong to a real person.

Facebook Join Date
Hackers fabricate loads of fake Facebook accounts and immediately send friend requests to random people every day. Look out for the account creation date on their profile. If the account was set up within the last few days, and you don’t recognize the person, it’s likely a fake account.

Mutual Friends
A good sign of a legitimate Facebook friend request, even if you don’t recognize the person, is having multiple (at least three) mutual friends. This guarantees that other people who you trust have enough trust in this person to become online friends with them.

Account Activity
The average Facebook user updates their account with either posts, pictures, or likes every day. Check out the profile of your friend request. You should notice some kind of activity within the last two weeks at least. If not, you’re likely on a hacker’s profile page.

Messaging
If all else fails, you can send a direct message to any Facebook user, regardless of whether you’re friends or not. Don’t hesitate to ask the user how they know you. Hackers will more than likely not respond to your question. If they do, you’ll be able to tell from their response if it’s a fake account.

If you catch a hacker, we suggest you block them from contacting you and viewing your profile. You will also want to report the user to Facebook so they won’t ensnare any other users. By confirming the friend request of a hacker, they’ll be able to view your personal information and use to it to take advantage of you. To prevent users from seeing your personal information, we recommend setting up security settings within Facebook, and routinely grooming your friend list to make sure your posts are only viewable by people you trust.

Social media websites like Facebook are amazing tools for business and interpersonal communication. Using them safely will benefit your company, and allow for exciting new business opportunities. However, social media sites are not invulnerable to scams and hacks. If you think you’ve accepted a friend request of a possible threat, or would like more information about other Facebook security threats, call TMS at 1 (626) 737-2960. We will assist you in bulletproofing your profile to maximize your safety, security, and privacy.