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Facebook Identity Theft Prevention

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Part IV of Identity Theft


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Facebook is one of the main sources of data for identity theft attacks and users are not nearly careful enough when using it. The personal information held by the site on each account holder provides an excellent basis for well-designed phishing scams. It is also a nightmare for malware that can infect your computer and steal personal data; and the site also gives the perfect surveillance tool for real-life attacks – it has been used to facilitate anything from repeated sexual assault to car theft and burglary. Free anonymous proxy sites and an anonymous VPN can help you to the extent that they hide your IP address from Facebook and during you communication with Facebook friends. But for stronger Facebook identity theft prevention, you basically need more prudence and care.

Here are some tips:

  • Don't use Facebook (or Google +) – social media sites are the worst ever for online safety and web privacy. Your Facebook account is essentially about your identity. Use it and you risk exposing it. Ok, well it was worth a try…here is some other advice that you might actually follow.
  • Manage your privacy settings on Facebook. This will limit the number of people who have immediate access to your profile. At least then your attackers are narrowed down to those few who know how to override privacy settings on Facebook or can hack into accounts by other means. This has happened often in the past.
  • Do not submit any of the data given at the beginning of this article to Facebook – your true friends will still know who you are even with none of it on your profile.
  • Do not use Facebook apps – doing so allows third parties access to your data. Even if they could be trusted (which they can't), there's always a chance their databases will be hacked by someone else.
  • Do not click on suspicious links – a lot of spyware is spread through status updates that beguile friends to clicking on them (usually through porn or the usual beguiling rubbish).
  • Do not access Facebook through Internet Explorer – it is the most dangerous for all malware attacks. Use Firefox, and download regular updates, which are developed for your security.
  • Keep a firewall up (ZoneAlarm offers a free one), and keep automatic updates on your virus protection software.

Also read:

Written by: 
Robin Welles; expats team, internet security team