Staying Safe On Facebook


Facebook can be a scary place to navigate, especially at this time of year. The news feed and messaging system are  a joyful source of connection with good friends, a component of the game we all love and a dangerous source of spam and scams. How can you tell what is safe to click and what’s not? How do you know what’s true and what is a hoax? Your Dirt Farmer team has some tips for you to help you keep safe from some of the perils that are surfacing on Facebook at the current time. Check out the details below and please do share with friends if you find our post helpful.

Fake Friends?

We’ve seen reports in our ASK the Dirt Farmer group of players getting friend requests, from people they were already friends with. Soon after strange messages began to arrive, mentioning suspicious lotteries, off color comments and other oddities. Then they noticed that they had two friends by that name. One of the Spammer/Scammers’ latest tricks is to copy someone’s profile and add all their friends with the familiar public profile picture and cover photo to gain access to their friends for nefarious purposes.

How can you protect yourself?

To protect yourself from scammers masquerading as your friends.

If you get a friend request from someone who should already be your friend, click on the name and check the profile before accepting. Look for any familiar pictures that might be visible to public or friends of friends beyond the profile picture and cover photo.

Check your own friends list to make sure that the real version of the person adding you is not still on your friends list

If you know you have mutual friends with this person, check directly under the cover photo for the word “friends” see how many mutuals it shows and judge if that is about right.

Scroll about one third of the way down the page and look on the right side under “recent” if you only see the current year there and you know that you have been friends with this person longer than that, that will be your clearest warning.

Look for visible public spam on their wall, especially if your real friend is careful what they click.

If the person passes all those tests, and you accept the friend request and you still get concerning messages, you will want to report them as “hacked friend” not impersonating a friend. Odds are that it is actually your friend’s real account in this case, and they have been hacked. If you report it as impersonating a friend then Facebook is likely to shut the account down, if you report it as a “hacked friend” then that will help their case with Facebook if they are struggling to get the account back.

How to protect yourself from having your account copied to victimize your friends.

The purpose for a spammer/scammer to copy an account is to add that person’s friends as potential victims. The easiest way to make yourself a less attractive target is to hide your friends list, this will make it so that people in general can only see how many and who the mutual friends they have with you are, and a scammer choosing you at random without mutuals will not be able to see ANYTHING.  Here’s how

Scroll down to the lower middle of your home page (newsfeed) look for “Friends” and click “more’'” beside it.

Click “See all friends” at the top of the ensuing page.

Click on the small image of a pencil next to “find friends” and click “edit privacy” in the drop down menu

Click the down arrow to the right of “Friend List” choose “Only Me” and click close at the bottom. It’s that easy.

Newsfeed and Chat Scams

Newsfeed and messaging scams often rear their ugly heads, but they are especially prevalent around the holidays. How can you tell what is and isn’t safe to click? As a rule of thumb, if the deal offers something that is normally expensive for free for a click, like or share and is not from a site that you know for a fact does this type of giveaways honestly, it’s probably a scam or spam. Anything that seems to good to be true, generally is. Below is a list of some of the most prevalent and ongoing scams – it is far from all inclusive, as new scams and spam pop up daily, so always be careful what you click. Never click on any of these listed below, they are ongoing and widespread scams or spam.

  • 50,000 to millions of dollars won in the Facebook or Foreign Lottery.

  • Anything saying your account has been reported/will be disabled that comes in Facebook messages purporting to be from Facebook. Facebook will send you notifications or email you, but they will NEVER send you a message on Facebook. If they plan to disable your account, they will do it and you will have to fight for it back, they will not warn you. NEVER click and enter your password on this scam, you can lose your account to the scammer. To see more about the Facebook Security Scam click here.

  • People who message you saying they saw your profile, are captivated and they’re looking for love.

  • Free gift cards from Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, or any other major retailer

  • Free iPhones, iPads or other Smartphones.

  • Free PS4 or Xbox

  • Free game cash from popular games like Farmville, Farmville 2, Candy Crush etc.
  • Anything with a link that says someone made a video of you or is using your photos

  • Anything offering special emoticons or caricatures.

  • Anything offering to customize or change the color of your Facebook profile

  • Anything offering to tell you who views your profile, who your secret crush is etc..

Hoax Copy/Paste Statuses

While these will not hurt your computer, they are pointless and do nothing but clutter the newsfeed, make you look gullible (especially if you repost these with public settings, they make you a more attractive target for anyone with ill intentions like those above who stumble across your profile) and confuse others into believing them as well. In general any status that says you have to copy/paste and repost it or something bad will happen is always nonsense and just trying to scare you. Be careful, there is a lot of false information out there on all subjects. Before reposting anything, to find out if it’s real, check in our ASK the Dirt Farmer Group, or search it on Snopes or Hoax Slayer.

Facebook will not be charging in the new year or any year. The login screen even says “It’s free and always will  be” This is a FAKE copy/paste status that someone made up for attention. Do not repost it, it will not change anything.

Facebook WILL NOT be closing due to under use if you don’t repost a copy/paste status. This too is FAKE. DO NOT repost it.

Facebook has been a public company for over a year now. Every time privacy settings change, some version of the below makes the rounds again. Whenever you sign up for an account on any site, it’s important to read the terms and conditions. Posting a copy/paste status DOES NOT have any effect on the terms and conditions that you agree to when creating the account or maintaining the account after changes. DO NOT repost this, it is FAKE and irrelevant as Facebook requires that you allow them access within privacy settings and you retain your copyrights. To read more from Forbes click here.

“I do declare the following: on this day, , in response to the new Facebook guidelines and under articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data, poetry, writing, photos, texts etc... published on my profile since the day I opened my account. For commercial use of the foregoing my written consent is required at all times.
Those reading this text can copy it and paste it on their Facebook wall. This will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright. By this release, I tell Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, broadcast, or to take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The actions mentioned above apply equally to employees, students, agents and/or other staff under the direction of Facebook. The contents of my profile include private information. The violation of my privacy is punished by the law (UCC 1 1-308 - 308 1 -103 and the Rome Statute). Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are invited to post a notice of this kind, or if you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you have not published this statement at least once, you will tacitly allow the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile update.”

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  1. Thank you for this excellent article. I have shared it with my FB friends.


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