Have you ever gotten a suspicious looking friend request? You don’t have any mutual friends, the stranger has little to no Facebook history with almost nonexistent personal information, an unusual amount of friends, and is often a very attractive woman dressed in revealing clothing.
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, these accounts may be fake.
So what do these fake users want? Oftentimes these accounts are used to scam people or commit fraud.
Fake accounts may send you friend request in order to retrieve personal information from your Facebook account to send you spam or set you up for a phishing attack, a fraudulent scam designed to steal money.
Sometimes, the fake accounts attempt to get hundreds or thousands of people to accept their friend request, then lead them to click to another site to get more visitors or send the victim malicious malware.
Thousands of Facebook users have reportedly received a huge amount of fake friend requests in the past month. Facebook has encouraged users to report fake accounts sending friend requests to crack down on the practice. Luckily, there’s also ways you can proactively prevent hackers, scammers, and strangers from contacting you under your ‘Privacy Settings’.
You can prevent people from finding you on Facebook via name search on the site and also from appearing on search engines like Google and Bing.
Adjust these privacy settings by clicking the ‘gear’ icon in the far upper right-hand corner of the page, then select ‘Privacy Settings’ from the drop-down list. Then click ‘Privacy’ on the left column, where you will find ‘Who Can Look Me Up?’ You will see the following options:
- Who can look up using the email address or phone number you provided?
- Who can look up your timelime?
- Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?
Next to the edit button on these options you can select either Friends, Friends of Friends, or Everyone. Select ‘Friends’ to maximize privacy.
For the last question, click edit to expand the box, and at the bottom of the box you’ll see, “Let other search engines link to your timeline.” Leave it unchecked to prevent your profile from being searchable via search engines.
Top image credit: (Photo Illustration by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)