When you see a friend request on Facebook pop up, what do you do? Or rather, what SHOULD you do?
Accept it? Deny it?
How about checking them out a little bit more before clicking either option?
If you’re someone who accepts a friend request without checking out their profile first, you could be putting yourself at risk.
“Stranger danger” isn’t just something to teach to kids. A stranger on Facebook could access information that you’ve put on Facebook and never thought twice about. That includes your phone number, address and where you work.
If you travel and post photos, the stranger knows your home is empty. They could see photos of your children or grandchildren and figure out where they go to school.
But, I know that person!
Do you? If you recognize that person from high school and you have a few mutual friends, click on their profile first. Make sure it is that person you know.
If you thought that you were friends with that person before, it’s possible their profile was cloned by hackers. Reach out to your friend in another way if you feel like this happened. If it did, you can report that profile to Facebook easily.
I know that person, but …
Perhaps that friend from high school is someone you haven’t talked to in years and you’re not ready for them to see all of your posts.
Did you know that you can create an Acquaintance list to limit what they see? Facebook has a few quick steps you can take to create this list.
You can also customize who sees your photos and status updates when you post, which we detailed recently in a blog.
ID theft is real
Don’t just take our word for it. There are many instances of ID theft through social media that people have to deal with every day.
The FBI reported last year that cybercrimes cost Americans $2.7 billion in 2018.
“What the criminals are looking for is a name, an address and a date of birth,” Danny Harrison told the Daily Mail in 2018. He works for a company that specializes in dealing with the fallout of ID theft. “Once they have that, using publicly available records, they can gather enough information to be able to apply for a bank account.
I added them as a friend, but now …
If you’ve added someone by mistake or want to part ways with them, you can unfriend them in just a few quick clicks.
If that person repeatedly makes a request to add you as a friend, you can take the step to block them.
You’ll want to also make sure that your Audience settings are geared toward showing your posts only to your friends and not to the general public.
Quick Facebook tips
These stories aren’t meant to scare you. It’s to help make you be aware of the possibilities that exist. Facebook is a fun place to share your first-day-of-school pics, news stories and funny viral challenges.
Here’s a quick look at some easy-to-follow guides in Facebook’s Help Center to put you in control of your friends list: