Press release

Jan. 4, 2012, 4:12 p.m. EST

How to Avoid Scams and Protect Privacy on Facebook(R): Tips

REDWOOD CITY, CA, Jan 04, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — With 800 million active users, there is no better place on the web other than Facebook for scammers, phishers, clickjackers, and all other species of Internet villains, perfectly illustrated with last month’s barrage of porn image attacks and recent social spam scams.

Despite this and other privacy issues that pop up (see file, Facebook Timeline), it’s easy to stay protected on Facebook if you know what to look out for. Here are some quick tips from /quotes/zigman/113610/quotes/nls/sprt SPRT 0.00% , the Personal Technology Experts(R):

1. Limit searchable personal Information. Facebook, by default, allows your basic profile information to be searchable. Go ahead, log out of Facebook and search “[your Facebook account email address] Facebook” on Google(R) and see what comes up.

Those results will be exactly what everyone (even if they haven’t signed up for Facebook) can see. Just knowing who your friends are makes it easy to phish for further information by contacting you with a spoofed email address!

For example, one simple way to help prevent invasive marketing or phishing attempts is to make sure personal information cannot be collected, stored or shared by other applications, which can be done by disabling the setting that links email addresses to your personal Facebook information.

Privacy is definitely an option on Facebook, with myriad settings to customize how much and what type of personal information you make available, which we explore in detail below.

2. Watch for New Scams New scams come online all the time, such as the social scam we mentioned earlier, or this recent iPhone(R) 5 scam reported by PCWorld (that’s right, iPhone 5’s aren’t even out yet).

Typically though, look out for scams like the scenario when a Facebook user gets a message from a friend saying they’ve been “hacked out of their bank accounts” and “please send money.”

If this ever happens to you, ask your “friend” a personal question that only you two would know the answer to. If the hacker doesn’t know the answer, chances are you will immediately get blocked by your “friend.”

If you insist on always logging into Facebook, then always make sure to check the URL before you sign in. Sometimes, phishers will make their sites look exactly like the Facebook login page, but the URL will not be the login address for Facebook.

In another scenario, it’s innocent Facebook users who are unknowingly responsible for spreading scams on their walls.

It all starts with a single wall post that entices the user to click on it. Oops, once you do it redirects you to a malicious website (or a phony “application” that steals your private information).

Unfortunately, the scam does not stop here — clicking that post may also auto-post it back onto your wall, trapping even more friends! Tip: be on the look-out and periodically check your wall.

3. Reminder: personal information is for friends and family!

Finally, as a reminder to all, the last thing you want is to become victim to online identity theft. As we said earlier, even though Facebook offers a great social experience, you still have to make sure any areas where you’ve unnecessarily exposed vital personal data to non-friends are locked down.

Be mindful of the traps mentioned above, and for additional protection, products such as Secure My Account for Facebook can help shore up vulnerable security points, protect valuable data, and ward off the ability for search engines such as Google to access that information.