Chances are good that you’ve seen a group on Facebook pop up explaining how the creator has lost or had their phone stolen. The group description usually mentions how the individual needs all their friends to join the group and post their phone number. In most cases, these groups are left open for anyone to join.

Some groups and creators are undoubtedly legit. Phones are in fact lost and stolen and no one can blame someone for wanting to use Facebook to reconnect with friends. After all, Facebook has become the Great Connector and a testament to how how valuable it can be to keep our contacts in the Cloud.

That being said, an open group means that anyone who posts his or her phone number is leaving that number up for anyone to see. Why is this dangerous?

As much as we’d like to think that Facebook is a clean, 100% safe zone, it’s also one of the largest social networks around. Thus, there are likely users mining Facebook for key data such as phone numbers at any given time. Phone numbers can be used by telemarketers and spammers alike to send you text messages. Sad, but true.

Here is a prime example. “Michelle” (I’m not totally convinced it’s Michelle that started this group as no admins are listed) has created an open group requesting numbers. 23 of her best friends have not given a second thought to making their phone number completely public. What does this equate to for Susy Spammer looking for phone numbers from a key Illinois college demographic?

Goldmine.

How to Protect Your Privacy on Facebook

1) BE SMART – Use common sense and remember that “public” and “open” really do mean you’re allowing full access to 150 million users. There’s going to be some bad seeds in there.

2) BE PROACTIVE – Whether it’s a group or your own profile, take action now to get your privacy settings right. Here’s a great Facebook privacy tips list, use it!

3) KEEP ON TOP OF NEWS – It would behoove you to stay on top of any scandals or other dangers arising on Facebook. If not for you, for your kids, co-workers, boss, clients or other new users checking out this “Facebook thing.”

-Scott

*Kudos to my old co-worker, Nate, for this post idea. You can reach Nate anytime on his cell at…

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Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Kudos for kudos. Time for me to sit back and enjoy the Smeis bump!

    Reply

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About Scott Meis

SVP, Digital Content Strategy @ Weber Shandwick Seattle. Outdoors. Adventure. Travel. I dig the Foto.

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Facebook, Social Media

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