Facebook identities exchanged for cheap prizes

Christopher Ho

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Thousands of Facebook users are risking their identities by falling for marketing ploys offering free stuff like, free crochet packs. Scheming companies create these campaigns to promote themselves in exchange for access to one’s Facebook profile. Just ask the 772,308 monthly active users who have gotten suckered into it.

These Facebook Contests for Fan Pages let companies and agencies create and launch competitions where one can easily enter by submitting photo, video, design, logo, and essay contests in exchange for their information. Then by generating as many likes as possible, these suckers win these popularity contests, having wasted a huge amount of their time and forfeited access rights their private and public information.

It’s well known that prospective employers preview and scan applicants online based on one look at their profile page. The same can be said about identity thieves.

According to a Federal Trade Commission report, younger generations are more susceptible to identity theft than older generations. College students in particular are 27 percent more likely to get their identity stolen, simply because identity thieves and hackers know that they are young, careless and stupid. And they’re right.

As if Facebook isn’t big brother like enough, people are dolling out their information on what is the wild west web openly, they might as well hand over their license, Social Security and credit cards to these crooks gift wrapped, bow and all. The whole idea of letting an anonymous figure access one’s personal information is just unsettling.

These contests ask to see one’s profile including name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information they’ve shared with everyone. If that wasn’t enough, they want a user’s likes, music, TV, movies, books and quotes.

By no means am I bashful about my fanboy love for all things Ron Swanson and or secretive about my passion for vinyl records. I am not keen on having this information accessible to random marketing solicitors, as is. For that matter, the thought of complete strangers who might use it against me or try and hack my password, like parksandrec4evrr, is just awful – which is a secret by the way.

Think about it, one’s name, favorite book, school and etc. are the exact same things an online bank account will ask for, essentially everything listed on one’s Facebook info page. And if one considers themselves safe because of updated Facebook privacy setting, the idea of secure social media is just one big oxymoron.

Dr. Alexander van Elsas, a blogger with extensive background in computer science has posed the question, “you get privacy settings that protect you from other users, but who protects you from Facebook itself?”

Even with privacy settings at the most stringent level, studies done by  Javelin Strategy & Research  revealed that 13 percent of identity theft resulted from cases in which the victims were friends with the hackers.

There is really only one fool proof solution to this problem. People need to wake up and protect themselves. Once something is posted online it stays online, even if deleted the trail still remains for a long time, if not forever.

Victims of identity theft only have themselves to blame, they knew the rules and without regard threw caution to the wind. Having said my piece I’m going to go put this crochet pack to use, fall is upon us and my grandma sure could use a nice handmade afghan blanket. Any other takers?