If you use Facebook, be especially leery of doing this

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If you use Facebook, be especially leery of doing this
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Facebook has been in the news lately in connection with the fallout from a data sharing scandal. The controversy centers on a firm called Cambridge Analytica and allegations that it may have misused Facebook users’ personal information during the 2016 election cycle.

On Wednesday, CNN aired an interview with the social media network’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in which he apologized to users for the controversy.

“So this was a major breach of trust and I’m really sorry that this happened,” he told the news network. ‘We’re going to review thousands of apps. So, this is gonna be an intensive process, but this is important.”

The social media network’s stock price has plummeted, regulators are scrutinizing the company and at least one user has filed a lawsuit over privacy violations, according to Bloomberg. Even some of its Silicon Valley alliances are starting to unravel. This week, billionaire Brian Action, the co-founder of WhatsApp, which Facebook bought for $19 billion, tweeted to his nearly 30,000 followers that it was time to delete Facebook.

Of course, Facebook still has its fans. The social media giant has close to 2 billion active users worldwide. For many, it has proven to be an invaluable resource for people who want to keep in touch with family, friends and former co-workers.

If you’re thinking twice about what you share on Facebook, start here

Despite the social networking site’s usefulness, there is still a need for caution. The greatest danger that Facebook poses is actually one of our own doing, money expert Clark Howard says. People continue to overshare — and the consequences could result in financial ruin or worse.

Untold numbers of Facebook users have been victims of thieves, scammers and con artists who capitalize on the information people let seep from their account. All it takes is a little data for criminals to pounce, Clark says.

“If somebody knows it’s your birthday and how old you are ‘ when they take your full name and birth date ‘ oh my goodness, there’s so much information [online] that becomes available,” Clark says.

One of the most prevalent schemes out there involves users pretending to be someone else and soliciting money from people close to the identity theft victim.

“We have had a number of calls from people who have lost money to scamsters impersonating family and friends,” Clark says. “We have heard from others who were close to getting scammed or avoided the scam. And I want to warn you this is such a prominent scam right now, with people gathering information that you have posted willingly on social media.”

So while Clark is fine with Facebook and other social media sites in general, he has a stern warning for those who use them:

  • Don’t overshare: Your data can be used and abused
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know: You cannot easily safeguard yourself from someone once you’re connected to them on Facebook

Listen to Clark discuss this topic on The Clark Howard Show Podcast

Your full name and birthday are just two pieces of personal info that people can use for nefarious means. Here’s a longer list of things you should never share on social media.

RELATED: Facebook Marketplace vs. the other commerce sites

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Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who still reads paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer. You can reach Craig at [email protected]
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