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How to keep safe from Facebook scams and spams

Soumyadip | http://soumyadip.com

Updated: May 16, 2011, 4:07 PM IST
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How to keep safe from Facebook scams and spams
While Facebook is doing its bit, the real responsibility lies with the user.

New Delhi: Cybercriminals are like terrorists. They prefer to target the most high profile and frequented places. And Facebook is the currently the hottest and happening destination in the online world. While Facebook on its part is implementing new security measures to keep you safe online, the real responsibility lies with the user.

Here are some tips to keep your Facebooking experience safe:

1. Be a sceptic. Doubt the authenticity of every link that comes your way. Read through the URL carefully. Even if on the first glance the link may seem genuine, take a closer look. It can possibly be a fake website masquerading as the real one.

2. As a rule, don't trust short URLs. If you really want to visit a link but don't know where the short URL will lead you, paste the suspect URL on http://longurl.org to know what lurks behind the innocent looking avatar.

3. Do not enter your Facebook credentails on any website whose URL doesn't begin with www.facebook.com on the browser's address bar, even if it looks like Facebook.

4. It could be a foe hiding behind your friend. While most online security tips tell you that you shouldn't trust links coming from a source you don't know, they don't tell you that even your friends need to be viewed with similar suspicion. This is not because you have been making the wrong kind of friends, but because your friend's account could've been compromised and is being used to spread malware.

5. Match the content and the character of the person. If you staid college professor is posting a link on "hot babes," raise a red flag. Always be suspicious of content and links coming from sources that are not likely to share such content.

6. Some scams and spams try to trigger your curiosity. And curiosity killed the cat. Many Facebook users fell for the fake Osama death video and photo links. You'll also occasionally find posts similar to: "Are you in this video?" 99.9 per cent of the time, you aren't. So don't bother and just delete.

7. If it is too good to be true, it probably isn't. Anyone promising you easy money or anything of desire could actually be luring you into a trap. Stay away. There are no free lunches or for that matter, free iPads.

8. If any communication on Facebook asks you to copy and paste some code to the address bar of your browser, don't. Scamsters try to take advantage of a weakness in certain web browsers. If you do it, it can, amongst other things, post status updates on your behalf without you even knowing about it.

9. If clicking on a link isn't meant to ask for a software installation, asks you to download/install. Stop. It could be malware. You don't need additional software (except for the widely used ones, such as Flash, PDF reader etc.) to experience content on most websites.

10. You can also enable 'Login Approvals' from the 'Account Security' of your accounts setting page. This will add an additional layer of security to your Facebook account. If anyone manages to steal your password and tries to log in from a different computer, they will be asked for an additional security code that is sent to your phone.

11. Also many of those fun apps can end up doing more harm than fun. Be selective about the apps you want to add. And keep a tab on the apps connected with your Facebook account on http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=applications and remove the unwanted ones.

12. It is also a good idea to 'like' Facebook Security (http://www.facebook.com/security) so that you can keep a tab on all the security related updates on Facebook.

13. Help Facebook in keeping Facebook clean. If you find any content that is spammy or scammy, report it as spam or scam.

A little caution can go a long way in safebooking your Facebook experience.

First Published: May 16, 2011, 4:07 PM IST
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