The familiar language of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media network, was designed to create a world where users could enter a safe online space to interact with people, reconnect with old friends and make new ones, near and far on a daily basis.

Although the demographics of users have shifted from primarily young and millennial users to adults, the network hosts an estimated 1.65 billion active users who post photographs of their family, vacations, homes and new cars as a way of sharing their lives with their “friends.”

Facebook spawned the new phrase, “friend me,” referring to the feature that allows a user to add someone to a list of so-called “friends,” many of whom they have never met.

A counter on the Facebook page keeps track of the number of these “friends” giving users a false sense of camaraderie and friendship and opening them up to scam artists who have far from friendly intentions.

Now, the Better Business Bureau is cautioning Facebook users to be wary of friend requests from people they do not know, as scammers recreate profiles for dangerous and illegal purposes.

Using a profile photograph and personal facts listed on the Facebook page under “About,” criminals and stalkers can gain access to enough information about current relationship status, whereabouts, and life events, such as births, wedding, and deaths, to create havoc in innocent user’s lives.

Armed with that information, someone can send fake messages to friends in your name, ask to borrow money, arrangement meetings or solicit more information.

A Facebook user posting photographs of their birthday party is unknowingly revealing their date of birth, while a simply click to change “relationship status” could open a user up to unwanted, predatory attention.

A post noting the passing of a loved one or friend can be a source of information to the wrong person and can be used in a less than friendly way.

Experts recommend that users change their Facebook settings to allow only known friends to view their profile and photographs.


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