Facebook, just like any other social media platform, collects a lot of personal data. This data is meant to enhance user experience on the platform, like finding connections and recommending relevant content based on account activity. Unfortunately, there are plenty of bad guys looking to exploit this data. If you are not careful, you might expose yourself and your loved ones to serious risks. Here are a few tips to help maintain safety and control while enjoying everything Facebook offers.
Watch Out for Scammers
Cybercriminals use well-planned attack tactics to scam people on Facebook. They present the scams in different forms and shapes that are least noticeable to unsuspecting victims. They can disguise themselves as sellers on the Facebook marketplace, impersonate your friends and send friend requests, or get you to click on malicious links. So, be on the lookout for any activity that seems out of line and investigate before taking action.
Most importantly, avoid accepting friend requests from strangers or new requests from people already in your network. If you want to know more about people you find suspicious, run a background check on them on Nuwber, a people search engine.
Create Robust Passwords
Using strong passwords for social media accounts cannot be emphasized enough. A simple and easy-to-hack password is good news for hackers. An ideal passcode should have at least 12 characters comprising uppercase and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Password generators and managers also come in handy if you can’t keep up with too many unique phrases. If you have experienced an account breach, it is advisable to change the current passcode.
Limit Your Audience
Although being a social butterfly is exciting, it is important to maintain strong privacy settings on your Facebook account. It includes limiting the number of people who can see your posts and details on your page. Tightening your account’s privacy limits the information available to hackers, stalkers, and uncouth marketers. For an even more private profile, limit users who can tag you in posts.
Use Multiple-Factor Authentication
Facebook offers two-factor authentication functionality for logging in for extra security. After enabling this feature, an SMS with a code is sent to your mobile to the number you provided. You will be prompted to enter this special security code every time you log in using a new phone, tablet, or computer. The prompt also pops up if a stranger tries to log into your account.
Be Cautious About What You Post
Every post on Facebook is potentially available to the general public. Sharing personal information such as your contacts seems like a reasonable thing to do when trying to catch up with a long-lost friend. However, the tables quickly turn when your identity is stolen and used for malicious activities like scamming other Facebook users. Scammers are also looking for such information to troll you online. So, keep all your personal details, especially your social security number, login credentials, and bank account information close to the vest.
Log Out From Multiple Devices
If you have been on Facebook for quite some time, it’s possible that you have used different devices to log in to your account. It’s also possible that you have not logged out of all of them. It could be your friend’s phone, a phone you lost or sold, a family laptop, or a computer in a cybercafé. Active logins on multiple devices increase the risk of a security breach and make it hard to flag the point of entry. To log out from them all, go to the Security and login settings page on Facebook. Then click “See more,” and then “Log Out Of All Sessions.”
Block Third-Party Apps
Third-party companies and organizations have been harvesting Facebook data over the years for their gain. Facebook users, however, can choose if a third party can access their private data. If you are uncomfortable with some or any of your Facebook data being accessed by a third party, you can disable it in the “Preferences” section under the settings area.
Hide Your Location When Using the App
Anyone in your Facebook circle can find you if your location is turned on. However, you can prevent this. Also, avoid tagging locations on posts as it might compromise your safety. While it is great to share with your network about the fancy restaurant you discovered or every detail about your vacation, it poses a risk. Since these updates are shared publicly, stalkers and anyone who wishes you harm can see them, making it easy to actualize their evil plots. For additional protection, consider using VPN services to change or hide your real IP address.
Block and Report
Whenever you face threats, harassment, or cyberbullying on Facebook, block the user and report the incident. Harassment can be anything, from receiving threats, insulting comments, and inappropriate content to being tagged in indecent posts. If your account is hacked, report it immediately to the platform for your safety.
Avoid Random Quizzes
You might have encountered some “fun quizzes” on Facebook. Everybody probably has. These games sometimes require you to sign up using your personal information. While such entertainment is a fun way to spend your time on the platform, it’s also a way for cybercriminals to learn more about you. They can use this information to launch an attack.
Trust Your Instincts
In most cases, your gut can sense when something is wrong. So, pay attention to individual activities on Facebook, and don’t overlook any anomalies. Social media fraudsters are always coming up with new tactics, most of which are hard to detect. If a gut feeling pushes you from pursuing something on Facebook, obey because it could save you from a serious issue.
Like on most social media platforms, the information posted on Facebook is accessible to the general public. Your safety on the platform, however, depends on your vigilance. It is not guaranteed unless you take the necessary steps towards achieving it. The above-mentioned tips will help you stay safe and sound.