There has been a lot of critical talk about the many popular social media platforms in use today, chief among them Facebook. If you get a Facebook friend request from someone you’re already friends with, chances are it’s a scammer. In perpetrating this scam a nefarious individual is most often seeking more in-depth personal information about his/her target in an effort to execute any number of scams, ranging from phishing for email information to divining whether or not a person’s home is a potential burglary target to soliciting friends of yours for money. In the worst cases scenario, the information could be used by sexual predators.
A personal of criminal wherewithal recreates a Facebook profile using the person’s profile photo and “About” information. Then, the scammer sends out “friend requests” to all of the person’s Facebook friends. Internet security experts have warned for years that someone could discern a great deal of personal information by gaining access to all that’s on your profile, information such as like status updates, location, date of birth, and photos. It is for this reason they suggest updating your privacy settings to provide access to only your friends and family.
Scammers have also been known to send messages to your friends, posing as you, in order to learn more about you, to borrow money or try to exploit your relationships with your Facebook friends for other dubious means. A News Insider suggests, “If you get a friend request from an existing ‘friend,’ verify that the request is genuine before accepting it. And of course, be very wary of friend requests from people you don’t know.”
We would add, if you have an under-aged child, be active in their interactions on the Internet, and especially with their interactions on social media platforms. Child predators routinely stalk their victims on social media sites and blog chat rooms. More than one tragedy could have been averted had the parents of child predator victims taken a more active oversight role in their child’s social media habits.
The Better Business Bureau, as well as a litany of Internet security experts and publications, have been issuing warning s about social media scams for years.