Reporting Identity Theft on Facebook

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identity theft on Facebook

The popular social networking site Facebook recently surpassed the 500,000,000-user mark. Half a billion members is an impressive accomplishment, whether you're one of them or not. However, members should view this milestone with a grain of salt, as some of these members are perpetrators of Facebook scams such as Facebook identity theft.

Facebook members have become so accustomed to clicking on links and friend requests sent by Facebook "friends" that thieves now rely on this complacency to commit identity theft. If a thief has used a "phishing" scheme of some kind to commit Facebook identity theft, here's how to report it through Facebook:

  • Log in to your Facebook account.
    Log in to your account as you normally would. If a thief has hacked your account and changed the password, ignore the next several steps -- just visit the Facebook Security Help section.
  • Go to the "Settings" tab.
    Under the "Settings" tab, click on "Help." It should be in the upper right-hand corner of the screen between your name and the logout link.
  • Navigate to the "Help Center."
    Look for the "Hacked Accounts and Spam" section of the Help Center, and click on that link.
  • Select the link that best describes the situation.
    Read the options, and click on the one that best describes your situation.
  • Follow the instructions.
    Follow Facebook's instructions step-by-step. You may need to change your login, and you should definitely change your password.
  • Report the Facebook identity theft.
    If someone is using your e-mail address to send spam to Facebook friends and anyone else in your address book, send that address to spam@uce.gov. This is the Federal Trade Commission's official e-mail address for reporting all identity theft, including Facebook identity theft.

All members of social networking sites — especially Facebook, since it's far and away the most popular — are at a greater risk for becoming victims of identity theft. The very nature of social networking sites makes them an attractive target for identity thieves, because members have a tendency to "let down their guard" and share information with virtual strangers that they'd never share with a stranger on the street. If you enjoy Facebook and other social networking sites but are concerned about your exposure to Facebook identity theft and other kinds of Facebook scams, an identity monitoring service might be a good solution.

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