Are you safe when you log into Facebook? The premise behind the social networking site was to bring real people together, but are the pages you click on legit? Are you really interacting with your favorite local business or is there someone else behind the screen? While it may not seem like a big deal, fake Facebook accounts and fan pages can actually lead to identity theft. Let’s take a closer look at how people are using fake accounts, what this could mean for you, and how to protect yourself while on the world’s largest social networking website.
What Are Scammers Doing on Facebook?
There are a number of reasons people may not use their real name on Facebook, even though the website suggests that people use their real identity. First of all, there are those that want to interact without their employers being able to find their account. There are also those that have pen names. With today’s growing business of independent publishing, this is becoming more and more common. However, it doesn’t stop there. There are those that are opening Facebook accounts and starting Facebook pages for fraudulent reasons. These people may be hoping to gain the trust of a company’s customers or portray a business as something it’s not. Because Facebook accounts are so easy to set up, it makes it much easier for scammers to fool people.
What Could This Mean to Facebook Users?
If you think a company page is legit, you may be more forthcoming with your information. For example, you might provide your address in order to obtain free samples. By gathering enough information, scammers will be able to easily steal your identity. If the page is claiming to be that of a local business, you may even be tricked into giving away your home address, which could the scammer access to your mail. With your address information and latest credit card statement in the scammer’s hands, you may find yourself the victim of identity theft.
How to Protect Yourself
How can you tell if a Facebook page is fake? One thing to lookout for are pages that ask you to allow the page access to your personal information. Another way to protect yourself is to only like company pages by accessing them through the company’s website. This makes it much easier to find the real Facebook fan page. Lastly, use common sense. Don’t give out your personal information unless you’re absolutely sure the source you’re giving it to is legit.
Facebook may have been founded on the idea of people interacting without hiding behind fake names. However, that doesn’t mean people abide by the rules. This means you need to be just as careful when using Facebook as you are in any other situation.