Protect Your Profile!<br />
5 Facebook Scams to Avoid

Facebook is a great networking tool that can also be a lot of fun, just think first before you click!

If you’ve ever used a computer before, you’re probably hip to a lot of the scams that happen on the internet.  I’m sure you haven’t sent any money to Nigeria or tried to contact any sexxxy Asian girls recently (if you have, I won’t judge).  But it can be much more difficult to spot a scam when it’s trying to get to you through a completely legitimate source, and Facebook is a prime target these days for scams and hackers.  Here are five you should look out for:

1)Tags In Photos/Videos: This is the one that got me!  You receive a notification that someone tagged you in a photo or video, and when you click the link you’re asked to download Flash or some other player to view what you were tagged in.  Don’t do it!  You’ll infect your computer with a virus and may not be able to recover from it (I ended up having to buy a new laptop).  The problem is that the notification can seem to come from someone you actually know so you think it’s legitimate.  If there isn’t an actual post on your profile Wall that corresponds to the notification, it’s fake.

2) "See Who’s Viewed Your Profile:"  there is NO WAY for you to see who has looked at your Facebook profile or how many times they’ve viewed it.  Facebook built this in to protect everyone’s privacy, and it’s not likely that this will ever change.  So if you think you’re gonna be able to tell if your ex really misses you because you think he’s checking your status updates every five minutes, think again.

3)Friend Requests: It seems like some folks are trying to get the gold medal for the most Facebook friends, but it’s not the best idea to accept EVERY friend request you get.   A lot of profiles are fake and set up for the sole purpose of spreading spam or phishing for your personal information.   The number of friends you have in common is one way to gauge the legitimacy of a request, but it’s not foolproof.  If in doubt, hit the ‘Ignore’ button – none of us has 3,582 real friends anyway.

4) Messages from Facebook: If you ever receive a message claiming to be from the ‘Facebook Team,’ it’s probably not legitimate.  Facebook typically sends messages about changes to the site by adding it to everyone’s News Feed and directing you to the ‘Help’ page.  Facebook won’t ask you for personal information to retrieve updates or other information.

5) Offers: If you click the link, you’re unlikely to get those hot Nike stilettos, a free iPad, or that Home Depot gift card. What will probably happen is that you’ll flood your friends’ News Feeds with the same type of annoying offers.

If you think you’ve been hacked, the quickest way to fix the situation is to change your password.  You should also delete any spam that shows up on your Wall or News Feed. And report spam as well so a record can be kept to prevent the same spam from showing up again. If used wisely, Facebook is a great networking tool that can also be a lot of fun, just think first before you click!

Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.