Facebook has never struck me as a secure environment. Despite its claims to the contrary, it offers no guarantee of privacy. Now I discovered the dangers of making purchases via Facebook.
Today I received an email from Facebook congratulating me on creating a new page. I also received one congratulating me on setting up adverts. Then I received one telling me my advert was live.
The first thing I did was go into my account to change my password. I don’t know if that’s how a hacker managed to do all those things, but it’s a logical first step. My password is not easy to guess but there are many ways hackers can sniff out, steal or capture passwords if we don’t change them from time to time.
Now Facebook wants me to pay £223
The adverts created in my name are clearly spam. The account was created on 28th September with an unlimited spend and a daily budget of £160.
Only by chance did I find this when Facebook notified me today (29th) that it had failed to take payment for the £160. Tomorrow it would have tried to bill me another £160.
What’s most scary is that the Adverts account was trying to bill my valid debit card. I used this card on Facebook several months ago to buy game credits for a game for my daughter. The only reason that card wasn’t billed today was because I keep the balance on it low for this very eventuality.
My own fault, you might say
You might say someone clearly had my password, so they were able to do all this, and I shouldn’t have given my card details to Facebook. Well, on Amazon, I have debit and credit cards in my account that expired ten years ago. I use a password on Amazon and have all my details in there and I’ve never had a problem.
Facebook is a different story. Even Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook profile was hacked. Now, if I ever feel the urge to buy game credits, products through a Facebook-hosted shop or anything that requires me to use real money I will resist the urge. I don’t trust it and I never will.
What does that say about ‘social shopping’, which is becoming the new way to do ecommerce? I think socialised shopping in a retail environment (ASOS, for example) is great, but shopping on a site that is a generalised social network isn’t a great idea. The transactions and the social network need to be separate.