Social Media dominates a lot of people’s lives, but are our obsessions with social media putting us in danger? Just how many friends do you have on Facebook? And out of them friends, how many do you actually know? And how many are strangers? In an era where we aim to make our mark with our online presence, the sub-conscious competition between people to get the most likes, friends, and shares is happening, and having lots of friends on Facebook will contribute to this. But are you actually putting yourself in danger accepting a friend request from a stranger?
Below are five reasons why accepting a stranger’s friend request, might not be the best of ideas.
They might not be who they say they are
If you don’t actually know the person who has added you then you can never be sure that they are who they say they are. The internet really is a wonderful place, and it is incredibly easy to create an identity which is a million worlds apart from your own. Unless you really know the person, there is no way that you can be certain that they aren’t just using someone else’s pictures and creating a facade which by accepting them you are now part of.
You could be putting yourself and others in danger
Most of us are guilty of posting of life all over social media, just so everyone knows exactly what we’re up to. From posting the latest concert that you’re attending, or even pictures in your regular hang out places, we all do it. But, if you have strangers on your Facebook they now know where you go and your friends and family. You don’t know who that stranger you accepted is, and whether or not they are watching what you are doing, keeping track of where you go. This puts you and others in so much danger. You’ve probably all heard the horror stories about people being stalked, followed, approached or even worse. You don’t want to be another one of these victims, so why accept that stranger and put yourself and your family and friends in danger?
Easy access to identity fraud
Making our profiles as personal as they can be is so easy because we have so many options to fill in so many personal details, which, you wouldn’t mind sharing with your friends and family. For example, your address and phone number. People might want to contact you, right? That is fine, but once your information is out on the internet it is available for so many people to access. Accepting a stranger’s friend request increases the chance that you could be involved in identity fraud. Realistically, all the information available to your friends on your profile is enough information for a person to create a duplicate of your account, whether that is keeping your name or simply just using your information.
Similarly to identity fraud, you could become a victim of hacking. That strange you accepted the other week, could, in fact, be a very clever hacker, and you are just the latest victim of one of their hacks. Although people don’t tend to post their passwords to their accounts online, most people’s passwords are something which they can easily remember. A pet’s name? Your mum’s name? Your favourite band? Sound familiar? A hacker would have access to all your likes, dislikes, friends, family etc, and using this information could, in fact, hack your account, which come on, nobody wants, do they?
You don’t know what the personality of that stranger is like, and they could be someone who posts content which is offensive to you. Imagine scrolling through your newsfeed and in between articles about your favourite bands, and pictures from your friends birthday party you see offensive content uploaded? Nobody wants that on their timeline.
Now you know some of the dangers of accepting strangers, is it really worth accepting them? Although the internet is an incredible place, it is also a scary place. Please stay safe online, don’t accept strangers and put yourself at immediate risk. Always keep your profiles on private, and make sure you regularly check you have the best privacy settings available.