I am not going to sit here and try to create a panic about online security. The truth is, you will probably be fine if you use common sense while on the web. No downloading shady virus programs from popups, no clicking on unfamiliar links or email attachments, and no giving you bank account info to Nigerian generals with millions they want to inexplicably give you. Follow those guidelines and you will be safe from 80 percent of the evils lurking on the Internet.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take precautions, especially when it comes to the still evolving social media website that is Facebook. A favorite hunting ground for scammers in today’s world, you have perhaps the highest risk of being screwed over there than anywhere else outside of Vegas.
These five tips can help you (and your business) from being targeted by scammers on Facebook.
Tip #1 – Know the Signs
Let’s say you log into your business page and you see a couple of wall messages from followers – or even business connections – with a link. They say they got a free iPod, found the love of their life or are posting nude photos. This is called a phisher scam, and it is the easiest of this incarnation to fall for, and avoid.
If you haven’t clicked on any links knowingly, but you find things being posted by you that you never posted, it is likely you have still been phished. Or someone logged into your account from a public computer or mobile device that you never logged out of. A rookie mistake, but it happens.
Recognizing these signs is half the battle at avoiding or recovering from a phish attack. Just go into your account settings and change your password, and you should be fine.
Tip #2 – Lockdown Mobile Security
Worried that if you lose your mobile phone someone will get onto your Facebook page and wreak havoc? This is a real threat for business owners who use social media for professional purposes. Which is why it is a great thing to have some kind of tool that auto-logs you off and keeps people from getting into your profile without the proper password.
Facebook Secure is my favorite of these apps, so far. It works well, and it only costs $0.99, so there is no reason not to have it.
Tip #3 – Keep Up On New Phishing Scams
When a new phishing scam ends up on the net, there are usually articles by security firms letting you know. It can be a good idea of subscribe to security blogs or even join one of their company pages on Facebook itself.
If you know what it out there, you can better protect yourself by staying a step ahead. This was a lesson many people learned the hard way, after having their Facebook pages hijacked and loaded with hardcore pornography and violent images.
Tip #4 – Use Friend Knowledge
One of the easiest ways to keep from being scammed is to know your friends list. If there is an unfamiliar link being posted to your wall by someone you know, don’t click it. Send them a direct message, or even text or call them, and ask if they put it up.
If you get a message from a friend who says they need cash, make sure to speak to them on the phone or in person first. This is a newer form of scam being done over Facebook, where people will pretend to be backpacking or on vacation, and stranded. They contact a Facebook friend and ask for help, then take the wired cash and run.
Tip #5 – Block Facebook at Work
For those of you still nervous, you can always keep employees from using Facebook during work on your computers. All it takes is disabling it as a host through your computer itself. The steps are actually pretty simple.
- Close all browsers and programs currently running on your desktop.
- Go to Start > Run. You should get a little black box with a blinking cursor.
- In this application, type: “notepad c:WINDOWSsystem32driversetchosts”, without the quotations. Click Enter.
- In a new line, type: “127.0.0.1 facebook.com”, against without quotations. Close the application by clicking on the ‘x’ in the corner.
- Click to save the changes when prompted by Windows.
This will completely block access to Facebook on that computer. While someone who knows what they are doing could disable this block, most won’t and you can instruct employees not to under threat of a write up, or whatever disciplinary system you use.
In the end, all it really takes is common sense to stay safe online, and on Facebook in particular. But there are ways to further protect yourself and your business, so use the five easy tips above.