Facebook Safety Tips

5 Facebook Safety Tips by identity theft expert john sileo

Facebook Safety Tip #1: If they’re not your friend, don’t pretend. Don’t accept friend requests unless you absolutely know who they are and that you would associate with them in person, just like real friends.

Facebook Safety Tip #2: Post only what you want made public. Be cautious about the personal information that you post on any social media site, as there is every chance in the world that it will spread beyond your original submission.  It may be fun to think that an old flame can contact you, but now scammers and thieves are clambering to access that personal information as well.

Facebook Safety Tip #3: Manage your privacy settings. Sixty percent of social network users are unaware of their default privacy settings. Facebook actually does a good job of explaining how to lock your privacy down (even if they don’t set up your account with good privacy settings by default). To make it easy for you, follow these steps:

  1. Spend 10 minutes reading the Facebook Privacy Policy. This is an education in social networking privacy issues. Once you have read through a privacy policy, you will never view your private information in the same way. At the point the privacy policy is putting you to sleep, move on to Step 2.
  2. Visit the Facebook Privacy Help Page. This explains how to minimize all of the possible personal information leakage that you just read about in the privacy policy. Once you understand this on one social networking site, it becomes second nature on most of the others. 
  3. Now it is time to customize your Facebook Privacy Settings so that only information you want shared, IS shared. This simple step will reduce your risk of identity theft dramatically.

Facebook Safety Tip #4: Keep Google Out. Unless you want all of your personal information indexed by Google and other search engines, restrict your profile so that it is not visible to these data-mining experts.

Facebook Safety Tip #5: Don’t unthinkingly respond to Friends in Distress. If you receive a post requesting money to help a friend out, do the smart thing and call them in person. Friend in Distress schemes are when a thief takes over someone else’s account and then makes a plea for financial help to all of your friends (who think that the post is coming from you). As with all matters of identity, verify the source.

This content from:


Privacy and social networks – video generated by the office of the privacy commission of canada
October 26, 2009, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Identity Theft | Tags: , , , , , , ,

What does a friend of a friend of a friend know about you???

[disclaimer: we do not claim copyright over this material]

Those without Social Network Profiles Could Have Online Identities Stolen
October 26, 2009, 11:49 am
Filed under: Identity Theft | Tags: , , , , ,

Security firm Aladdin in their annual threat report believe a new lot of identity thieves are coming after individual personal web profiles. According to the firm, if you don’t own and control your online persona, it’s relatively easy for a criminal to aggregate the known public information about you in order to create a fake one.

“This new type of identity theft was listed among other predictions for 2009 in the firm’s annual report and was based on previous trends which included a rise in attacks distributed through social networking channels. For example, in 2008, we saw worm writers (like those behind Koobface) taking advantage of the growing popularity of social networks as a means of distributing their worms. As these sites continue to grow, the potential for criminal activity surrounding them will grow as well”.

According to Ian Amit, director of research at Aladdin’s Attack Intelligence Research Centre, the potential damage for this new type of identity theft will be “devastating, both on the personal level by creating difficulties in employment, ruining social and professional connections, damaging reputations; as well as on a financial level, such as stealing customers and corporate data.

To test their predictions this particular team were able to set up fake online identities, which they believe connected to their real network of friends and aquaintences easily. The thought of identity hikacking has personally really scared me, there is so much information online especially in todays society about each and every individual that in the wrong hands could be used against you. It is seen to be a problem that is increasing over time, each day a large amount of information is generated through the internet imagine what could be found after all these years? should we as a society be worried? well i personally am!

Marketing research and the Panopticon
October 26, 2009, 4:33 am
Filed under: targeted advertising | Tags: , , , , , ,

Jeremy Bentham designed the Panopticon prison in the late 1700s, the premise of which being one person could monitor many without the prisoners knowing if they were being watched. This effect is similar on social networking sites- as no one knows who or when people are viewing their profile. As a result many people will create and alter their profiles with their friends or other in mind.

From a marketers perspective this can be both a dream and a nightmare as on one hand you’ve got this clearly defined market of conformists, but on the other hand- these people might not be the long term serious customers your business is after. So in this sense it is a dual edged sword as the person we see online is not necessarily the person we are actually marketing to. Although this concept affects all forms of marketing research to an extent, on the internet it is far easier to fake identity.

As an example, I might not be into skateboarding, however, because all my friends are I might list them as one of my interests. Because of this, any targeted advertising may assess my profile and judge that I a suitable candidate for a skateboard company to market to- when in actuality, I wouldn’t consider purchasing anything from them. Indeed the reverse is also true- I may omit that I am a Michael Buble fan from my Facebook because I fear ridicule from my friends.

Similar results can be seen in online surveys and groups. It is all too easy to join a Facebook group, for an albeit worthy cause and do nothing more about it- basically using your profile as a badge to demonstrate what you stand for, even if it’s just for appearances. This is becoming all too common, with causes and interests becoming superficial accessories to social networking profiles.

Caplan has written a paper on what he calls problematic internet use which studies the use of the internet in social networking situations as opposed to real life. In the paper he highlights people with lower self confidence are more likely to use the internet for socialising. His results are relevant to this post as they highlight the change in person that occurs between the internet and the real world.

So does all this render a great deal of online marketing research void? People are displaying themselves as they want to appear- not as they actually are in real life.

Self Serve Advertising?

Yep! MySpace and Facebook have had it for nearly two years now! Marketers, companies and users can create their own ads and have MySpace and Facebook display them on relevant profiles in order to more effectively reach their target market.

Facebook self serve advertising

MySpace self serve advertising

Furthermore advertisers can analyse their results and better position themselves to their target audience with professional help from the social networking site.

Although this all began in November of 2007, it is important to note as it signalled the beginning of what was termed as ‘hyper-targeted advertising;’ using the contents of social networking profiles to directly target and market to the user.

What does this mean for privacy? Well, initially when the sites decided to take this direction there were fears that information that users wanted to remain private would be used  by third party advertisers to segment them into serviceable markets. MySpace and Facebook contend, however, that only information set by the user as public can be used by advertisers. Even then, did the user ever get a chance to consent to this? Realistically the only way to opt out of this situation was to cancel their account, defeating the purpose of using a social networking site.

Social Networking Risks: How safe are you??
October 14, 2009, 3:50 am
Filed under: Identity Theft | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Image from Don Hankins on flickr

“Last month, officials from the government gave out a general warning that criminals might be taking a keen interest in what you leave behind in social networking sites. They were pointedly referring to the unbridled popularity of social networking and to the dangers social networking might expose users to”.

“Criminals, they warn, might be looking to test the territory of social websites to enact crimes like pedophilia and phishing scams. The danger of identity theft in social networks was particularly highlighted as swindlers can use bits and pieces of information posted online by users to steal their identity. The warning should bring the spotlight on the loopholes in social networking security and how users can avert dangers arising out of them”.

Fraud and scam news –

After much research into this topic I myself am feeling unsure about my safety in regards to identity theft. This particular issue has grown much more over the past year and many believe it is going to get much worse. Face book seems to most users a way to keep in touch with friends, share images and up date your every day activities but what many users don’t think about is their personal safety when using social networking sites like face book.