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Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

4 Characteristics of a Fake Facebook Friend

b2ap3_thumbnail_facebuk400.jpgWith all the personal information users entrust to Facebook, it's no surprise that scammers are also on Facebook, often posing as friends. When using Facebook, you will need to be aware of this scam in order to keep your personal information safe. Here are four characteristics of a fake Facebook profile that you should consider before confirming a friendship.

Are you making yourself vulnerable over Social Media? While it's flattering to receive a friend request, it's important to make sure you know who the person, and that they are someone you trust. If you accept every friend request you receive, even if you don't know them, then you will make your personal information available to hackers.

Whenever someone befriends you on Facebook, they are no longer subject to your account security settings and they can view all of your posted information. In an attempt to gain this level of clearance, a hacker will make a fake Facebook profile and send out thousands of friend requests to random people. The fake profile may even include a normal-looking profile picture, along with other deceptive features to make a fake account appear legit. This is why it is important to ensure your account is secure. Here are 3 Ways to Secure Your Facebook Account.

Before you confirm the friendship, you will want to investigate the profile and judge for yourself if the account is actively being used by a real person, or if it's something that was quickly slapped together by a hacker. Here are four clues that will tell you if a Facebook account is real or fake.

Check out the user's pictures. A hacker may use a legitimate-looking profile image to draw you in (likely ripped off from someone else's profile), and they may even add a few more generic pictures in their photo album to make the account appear more credible. Often times, the hacker will not take the time to use the same person for all of their pictures, this is a dead giveaway that the account is not real.

Joined Facebook Date
A hacker will make fake Facebook accounts all day long, and immediately send friend requests to random people as soon as the account is made. If the account sending you the friend request was started within the last day or two, and there are no mutual friends, then it's likely a fake account.

Account Inactivity
With a normal Facebook account, the user will post regularly, even if the user posts to their profile only once a month. You should be able to view a few of their posts, giving you insight into their life. A fake profile that's thrown together by a hacker will often not have any posts on their timeline.

Send a Message
You don't have to be Facebook friends with someone to send them a message through Facebook. You can easily send a person a message that's sending you a friend request. It's okay to ask them a basic question like, "Where do I know you from?" A hacker will often not write you back, and if they do, you can tell from their response if they are a hacker or not. If you discover that they're a hacker, you can block them from contacting you and even report them to Facebook so they won't harass anybody else.

By not giving hackers access to your Facebook account, you will ensure that only the people you trust will be able to see your personal information. A hacker that tricks you into a Facebook friendship will be able to view not only your e-mail address and phone number, but they will also be able to study your personal habits and plan things like a home invasion or a kidnapping. It's also a good idea to regularly go through your friends' list and double-check any accounts that you don't recognize with these four criteria, just in case a hacker slipped through your defenses. If a hacker has slipped past you, there are ways you can keep a Facebook friend from viewing a post you don’t want them to see.

If after these tips you are still being annoyed by fake friend requests on Facebook, here’s one more tip. Finally, even with strong network security measures in place, your computers can still be hacked when a user falls for a scam, this is why it's important you are able to recognize a phishing attempt. Never forget, hackers, prey on social media users. Social media websites like Facebook are wonderful networking tools that can help your business, but as is the case with any tool, you will want to first learn how to properly use it before implementing it. Call Directive at 607.433.2200 to learn about additional threats and scams on the Internet that you need to look out for.