Think before you accept that strange friend request

Real estate agents using Facebook for business may be tempted to accept any and all friend requests — after all, the more contacts the better, right? Wrong. Facebook has become a favorite tool of scammers preying on those who will accept any friend request, so make sure it’s a real person that you know.

Scammers start by setting up a fake Facebook account and sending friend requests. Here are just a few of the ways these fake accounts are being used: Beware

  • Cyber bulling — Attacking the reputations of companies or people they don’t like
  • Sending spam
  • Posing as a real person on to solicit your friends for money or personal information
  • Bypassing your “friends only” security setting to obtain personal information

Before accepting a friend request — even of someone you know or who you have friends in common with — look at the person’s Facebook page and watch for these red flags.

New Account — If it is a new account with only one or two photos, no cover photo and no or very limited information in the About section, do not accept it. These red flags are quite common on fake accounts.  Yes, it’s possible a real friend is just late to the Facebook game and has just opened an account, but most people will add in some personal details and make a few posts right away.

A Few Common Friends — Don’t assume that an account is real just because you share friends in common. There’s a good chance that your Facebook friends weren’t as diligent as you and have already accepted a request from this fake account.

Already Friends — If you receive a friend request from someone you are already friends with on Facebook, ask the person on their original page if they’ve opened a second page before accepting. Creating fake duplicate pages of real people is a common scam.

Distant Lands — If you receive a request from someone in another town or country that you have no relationship with, that’s an obvious sign.

Make sure that you use social media with common sense. If you don’t know the person or have never heard of them, don’t accept their friend request. Facebook should be used to connect with people you know or have at least met or have some connection with, not random strangers who look friendly and post a nice picture. Doing otherwise could make you the victim of a scam.

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