Why You Shouldn’t Talk to Strangers on Facebook

Facebook, for the most part, is a safe place to meet friends and talk to people. However, it’s good practice (and simply common sense) to stick to conversations with people you actually know.

Recently, I’ve been receiving messages from complete strangers asking seemingly-legitimate questions about my livelihood, such as programming or brewing, since both are listed on my (up until today) public profile. Of course, when you get random messages from people outside of the country, your mind detects that something is amiss.

Don’t ignore your instincts when it comes to the internet.

Before responding to any of these messages, I decided to trust my gut and do some investigating into possible scams that could be run through innocent message exchanges on Facebook. What I discovered is that if you respond to a message on Facebook, you grant the person receiving your message permission to view your profile as a friend would for one month.

Just for clarity, I’ll reiterate:  If you respond to a message on Facebook, the recipient can view your profile for ONE MONTH.

It doesn’t take a month for somebody to copy your photos, copy your information, and set up a fake account on Facebook under your name or otherwise steal your identity.

The other possibility is that you’ll be lured into a sorority house pillow fight. The risks are real!

Dramatization.

Maybe this comes across as paranoid, but play it safe and just ignore/block messages on Facebook from people you don’t know. Hopefully Facebook decides to change its policy on profile viewership by non-friends in the near future. In the meantime, you can change your visibility to be non-public (so that you cannot be searched and found), or you can simply not reply to suspicious emails.