Covering our Facebook footprint

Cropped Photo: MGN
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- It seems like everyone we know is on Facebook, however despite our friends' list, Facebook the site might know us better than most of the people on the social media platform.

"It can't be. How can they do that? It's my picture."

Rockford Alderman Frank Beach signed up for Facebook to connect with his friends and family. Little did he know, someone on the end of the computer was doing the exact same thing.

"When you realize that someone actually captured your photograph and identified themselves as you, it is very, very disturbing," says Beach.

It's not hacking. It has nothing to do with changing passwords. The "suspect" as we'll call him, created a fake account using Beach's profile picture and basic information, information many make public.

The impersonator then started to "friend request" all of Beach's contacts, including 23 News Anchor Whitney Martin.

"At first I thought I was getting a message from Alderman Beach. He even asked me if I had heard about any good news, then went on to say I've won something and to email someone to retrieve my cash prize. I played along, asking what should I say. The impersonator assured me it wasn't a scam. I then asked for conformation before the suspect told me to type my phone number to text proof of identity," says Whitney.

"I had one friend who thought I was in need and actually sent money and that hurts," says Beach.

Beach says that friend sent $1,000 to the impersonator who after dozens of complaints, finally disappeared.

Carnegie Mellon researchers say its' hard to tell whether users are putting too much information on the internet.

Social Media Consultant David Griffith says our clicks are being tracked, those tailored ads we see, aren't a coincidence.

"If you search for a product and you didn't buy it, they will re-target you and make sure you see better offers," says Griffith.

That means if we're logged into Facebook, what we search on other websites is also being tracked.

"Companies like Target are watching the buying habits of women and it can tell a woman is pregnant before she is telling someone," says Griffith.

Griffith says we can thank the GPS in our phone if the "People You May Know" tool Facebook offers seems a little too accurate.

As for Beach, his profile isn't public, understanding when it comes to social media, nothing we do in private, is actually private.



 
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