With over one billion people connected to Facebook, we have to assume that many of them are criminals. (Criminals are people with friends too!) But the criminals we need to be concerned about are the ones who create all kinds of scams designed to do everything from getting us to open our wallets to clicking links so we enter our personal information that lets them infect our devices.
Here's some insight as to what they may do to get access to you and your account:
Phishing: Emails coming into your inbox right now may in fact be coming from Facebook because by default, you allow that contact in your notifications settings. The problem is that at any time, scammers can duplicate these same emails and you may never know what's real and what's fake.
- Never click links in Facebook emails. Instead, simply log in via your favorites menu or use a password manager. Anything you need to do is right there in your notifications menu.
- Turn off email notifications. Do you really need 20 emails a day telling you that someone just liked or commented on what you posted? Seriously? Go feed the homeless if you have that much time on your hands.
- Stay out of your spam folders. Most internet service providers and email providers to a pretty good job of filtering out spam and phishing emails. But if you go into spam and start clicking away, you'll get yourself in trouble.
Criminals know how to get your attention to entice you to click links. They create copy that is supposed to elicit emotional responses that send you deep into their rabbit hole. This status update is a perfect example of someone who is now infected because the user probably clicked on this and is now sharing it with everyone else, just like a virus. Everything about this screams CLICK ME!
- Don't mindlessly click links simply because you need to know what they're going to show you. Be conscious about scams and fraud, and know scammers are paying attention.
- Keep your browsers up to date, as well as your antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing and a firewall.
Whenever using a free WiFi connection, there is always the possibility your device, its data and your accounts can be compromised. Free WiFi is not secure; it has no encryption, and your data is right there for criminals to sniff.
- Set up encryption on your home or office router. At a minimum, use WPA or WPA2 encryption to secure your data.
- Use a VPN (virtual private network) such as Hotspot Shield VPN that locks down and encrypts your wireless communications.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen
See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America
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