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Through such platforms, people make friends easily, build contacts, renew friendships, and find old acquaintances.
However, there is a flip side to this. While you may enjoy the experience of finding and renewing your friendship with people with whom you may have lost touch for several years, there is always a risk of getting exposed to spurious Facebook accounts.
In the virtual world, it is easy to build a new identity and create a network of friends. Whatever information that you know about your friends on these networks is through their public profile information and their photos and posts.
The Danger Lurking Behind Fake Profiles and Identities
While using websites like Facebook, take a little time to at least check the profile of people who send you friend requests. People might not always be who you think they are.
Incidents of scams involving Facebook users with false identities are on the rise. These people create a new identity on Facebook, get people to accept them as friends and then take advantage of that friendship to extract personal information and other sensitive data.
Sometimes, these people do not create a new identity for themselves; they just steal another person’s account and exploit their network of friends for their schemes.
These accounts can be used in so many ways to exploit victims. They might just share an innocent looking link with their friends, which might actually take the person who clicks it to a malicious website that accesses their account information and retrieves personal data.
These spurious accounts might also use more direct methods. For instance, they can send you a personal message asking for help. They may claim that they are in a difficult situation. They will give a plausible scenario, and if they have built up a good relationship with you, they might use that to appeal to you for monetary help. They may even ask to use your card number to pay their bills or ask for other sensitive information, hoping that you trust them enough to give this information. Surprisingly, many people do fall for such appeals and give out sensitive data that should never be shared.
This is why you should exercise care while using Facebook and other websites. Do not accept every friend request you get. Even if you think the friend request is from a person you know, make sure it is really that person and not someone pretending to be him or her. It is very easy to build a false persona on the web.
Points to be Noted While You are on Networking Websites
- At the minimum, check a person’s profile before accepting a friend request from them.
- Do not accept every App that your friends share with you. Some of these might not be safe.
- Do not ever share your Banking and other sensitive details.
- Use a good security suite like Kaspersky Antivirus to protect yourself from malware.
To prevent your own identity from being hijacked, change passwords often. Make sure you use passwords that are hard to guess and do not use simple passwords like your pet’s name or your birth date. Set complex passwords with a combination of letters and numbers. These passwords should be relatively easy for you to remember, but not that easy for anyone to guess.
Be safe in the virtual world. Social networking is a great way to acquire new friends, but it is important to be sure that you are interacting with the right friends.
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