What The Tech?: Common Facebook Mistakes

CHARLOTTE – We’ve all got Facebook friends who post warnings that their account has been hacked and “do not accept friend requests” from me. I know I see these posts frequently and they’re usually from the same people. Have you ever wondered why the same people get hacked or cloned over and over again?

They’re probably making some mistakes that hackers prey on. Mistakes that make it easy for hackers to target and compromise Facebook profiles and accounts.

Here are some common mistakes that make you an easy mark for Facebook bad guys:

Mistake #1: Share your phone number publicly. You may not even remember giving Facebook your phone number but if it’s shared publicly, it makes you vulnerable to hacks and identity theft. It could also be a reason you get a lot of spam texts and robocalls. Go into settings to check who can see your number. if it’s shared with everyone, anyone visiting your profile can see your number. The same is true with your email address. Change them both to “only me” and share your number and email address only when you choose to.

Mistake #2: having too many Facebook friends and followers. Hackers tend to target people with lots of friends and followers. It makes it easy for them to reach a larger audience of possible victims. Are you friends with people you don’t know in real life? Fake accounts send out millions of friend requests every day. Check your friends list and if there are any you don’t know, block them. I guarantee you’ll see followers you don’t know and didn’t know who were following you.

Here’s why: if you get a friend request from someone and you ignore it, they still become followers and can see your public posts, photos, reels, and stories as you post them. Some of these followers will be fake including those from fake or cloned accounts your friends warned you about. You’ll see your followers under your profile and Friends tab. If you see any suspicious accounts under followers, block them. Better yet, change the setting under public posts so that the only people who can follow you are your friends.

Go into security settings under the login, and make sure “Facebook Protect” is on. These are advanced security settings to protect accounts by monitoring logins from new devices and locations. Facebook requires some accounts to have “Facebook Protect” turned on but it’s a good idea to make sure. Would you walk up to a stranger and hand out your phone number, email address, pictures of the kids, and where you work? Probably not. When you post things to Facebook you’re likely sharing it with more than just your Facebook friends. Treat Facebook information like you would in real life and lessen the chance you’ll become a frequent target.