Since its popularity surged nearly a decade ago, Facebook has become the go-to place on the Internet to share our information with our friends.
Whether it’s photographs, video, sharing our latest life developments or holiday plans, Facebook is the place to get the word out. But this makes it a haven for all sorts of criminals looking to get their hands on that information. Facebook provides limitless opportunities for a variety of scammers, and it is important that we learn how to keep the information we post on Facebook safe and out of the hands of people that could exploit you.
There are so many different do’s and don’ts when it comes to keeping the information you upload to Facebook safe, and we explain five of the most important right here.
Only post information to your friends
With so much of our personal information online, it is imperative that we try and keep a handle on who can see it. There are criminals out there who specialise in taking information about you – even seemingly harmless information – and use it against you. Identity thieves, for example can take your information and pretend to be you in any number of Internet scams.
You need to make sure that your privacy settings are set to Friends Only. This means only people you’ve accepted on Facebook can see the stuff you post. It’s pretty simple to do that – and since it is the default option you may already be posting to only friends already, but we still recommend checking. You can check this setting by going to your main account settings, clicking privacy and ensuring the option ”Who can see your posts?” is set to friends.
And while you’re there, select the Limit Audience option just below and select Limit Old Posts. This applies the same privacy setting to everything you’ve posted in the past.
If you have friends who you don’t know or trust, consider educating yourself in Lists. This is a feature that allows you to separate your friends into different lists and assign different privacy settings to each list.
Stop strangers from looking you up
Annoyingly, Facebook allows people to look you up using your email address or phone number (if provided) that you gave to them when you signed up. This means if someone types in your phone number or email address in the search bar on Facebook, Facebook will return your profile.
This can be annoying since it can potentially allow marketers or even criminals to pair your full name with your email or phone number. We recommend only allowing friends to look you up using this information. Luckily these options are in the same place as above, in the Who can look me up? section. Just change each one to Friends and not Public.
Hide your friends list
There are Facebook scams out there that rely on someone being to see who you are friends with on Facebook. Namely cloning scams can set up accounts in your name and then trick your friends into accepting friend requests on Facebook – that’s not good!
So hide that friends list and the scammers won’t know who you are friends with!
To hide the friends list, simply go to your profile and select Friends. Then find the pencil icon on the right hand side (for desktop users) and select Edit Privacy settings and set to Only Me. The default setting is Public.
Click the next page below.