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Over 1 billion people are on Facebook. The social media site is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family.
But Facebook can also be a place where scammers lurk to try and take your money. That's why you always need to be careful when posting or clicking on links which come up in your newsfeed.
One warning we always give people is to not post pictures of your trip or vacation while you are on vacation!
Posting that beautiful sunrise over the ocean or that hike up a mountain basically puts a sign on your house that tells thieves that you're "open for business."
It's almost like giving potential burglars a key to your home. We know it's tough, but maybe hold off posting those pictures until you're home. Did you know you can also limit who sees what you post? You can make groups of close friends and family and post items only they can see.
Facebook is also home to some of the biggest scams, which not only impact you but could affect others. Here are the top Facebook scams, and how you can avoid them so you don't become a victim.
A recent scam tells you that you can change your Facebook profile color the white "f" on the blue background. Do not fall for this. It's actually a survey scam application. Do not click on the link or give permission to access your Facebook account! The promise to change your Facebook profile color turns into your Facebook feed, and potentially your friend's Facebook feed, to be filled with spam.
Another scam involves the potential to get a gift card or voucher. Usually the link offers the freebie if you invite your friends to the offer. But don't believe it. If you fall for it, the only thing you get is more spam. It also opens you up to more surveys, where you are asked for more personal information, like your address or phone number. The dishonest marketer can then sell that information.
The next scam entices you with the promise of great video or pictures. It's usually something you just won't believe.
However, when you click on the video link, a message pops up saying that you need to update your YouTube player. If you install the update, you're really downloading malware with a hidden code which causes a Facebook "like" to appear on your timeline. Not only did you infect your computer, but your friends might see it and "like" it too, opening them up to the scam.
Another version of the scam may install a program onto your computer giving hackers the keys to your computer.Another Facebook scam deals with one or both of the following questions: "who's looking at your Facebook information" or "click here to see who has unfriended you"? The software for either of these does not exist.
Facebook does not provide the ability to track who is viewing your timeline. Clicking on the application just invites more spam to your timeline.
And the final top Facebook scam has been going on for years. It has to do with copyright and privacy protection. You've probably seen the post that Facebook is changing ownership of users' information followed by legal language saying Facebook retains the copyright of any content posted on the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post as stated in Facebook's terms.
So what do you do if you fall for any of these scams? You can delete any app by going to your account settings. Just click on the drop down arrow in the upper right of your Facebook page and click on settings. Then click on "Apps". It will be on the left side of the settings page. There you will find all the apps that you have allowed access to your Facebook account. Some are good some are bad. Just delete the ones you don't want any more to keep your account safe from scammers.
Sherri Bevan Walsh is the Summit County Prosecutor. If you have any questions or suggestions for future topics, or belong to a group who would be interested in hearing a crime safety presentation from Prosecutor Walsh, please call or write to: Summit County Prosecutor's Office, 53 University Ave. Akron, 44308, 330-643-2796.