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October 7, 2018

What to do about a fake friend request on Facebook


If you accept a friend request on Facebook from someone who turns out to be a fake, you may be wondering what they can do? Can they control your account? Can they hack into your computer and steal all of your money? Can they pretend to be you, and go around insulting people? Can they turn you into a zombie? And if you're wondering that, I'm kinda wondering what makes you think so.

Anyone that you've friended on Facebook can see what you post. If your Facebook page is private, they can see photos of your dog, and they make comments. If your Facebook account isn't private, they can see photos of your dog, and they can make comments. And that's it. Being someone's friend on Facebook has never given anyone the power to hack into your computer. If you're wondering why I'm so confident about that, just think about the pages you've friended. Can you do any more than look at their pictures and write comments? No, you can't. I'm sure that the bad guys wish they could, but really all they're gonna get is to see photos you've posted, and write comments.

So if you're wondering why the bad guys are going to all of the trouble nowadays of creating a page that looks like a friend, it has to do with Messenger, the app that Facebook uses to send and receive messages.

Now calm down here, I'm not saying that the bad guys can suddenly get control of that app. They can simply write a message to you. I've seen plenty of them, and it usually starts with a simple "hi" or even a wave. If you say "hi" back, or wave, they know that they have someone that they can talk to. And then it's the same old story that goes way back - "Psst: do you want to buy some watches?"

I don't know about you, but I learned a long time ago to not buy watches from a stranger. The correct response is "no thank you", and walk away. The correct response on Facebook is to unfriend the fake friend. If you're dumb enough to keep talking to this person, they're gonna try to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. It's an old, old story.

Yes, there are bad guys out there. There always have been, and there always will. The safest thing to do is to never go anywhere, to never leave the house, to never use Facebook. But I made a choice a long time ago that the bad guys would be part of the hazards of life, and like most hazards, you can simply step over them. Watch your step!

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