Do you have a loved one who was active on Facebook, but has now passed on?
If so, you might be surprised to learn that hackers and scammers would love to take control of your deceased loved one’s Facebook account. In fact, they actively seek “orphaned” accounts on a daily basis.
I know it sounds despicable (and it is), but countless low-lifes are actively searching for accounts where the owners have passed on, leaving their orphaned accounts wide open for exploitation.
These types of orphaned accounts are easy to find simply by typing certain phrases (which I won’t mention here for the sake of discretion) into the Facebook search box and using the returned condolence posts to find the accounts of deceased loved ones.
Once they have hacked into an orphaned account, scammers can use the information contained on the deceased owner’s About page along with the info contained in his/her Timeline posts to scam other users in a multitude of ways.
They can also try to hack into the account and take control of it, then use it to spread SPAM and malware in the deceased person’s name.
Leaving orphaned Facebook accounts unprotected also makes it easy for those with grudges against the deceased to tarnish their reputations with malicious Timeline posts now that they are no longer around to defend themselves by deleting them.
Luckily, Facebook makes it easy to prevent any of those things from happening by “Memorializing” a loved one’s account to protect it from hackers, scammers and malicious individuals.
This post explains how to request that a Facebook account be memorialized as well as how the account will be affected by the memorialization.
It’s also important to consider what could happen to your own Facebook account when you eventually pass on.
Your orphaned account could also be vulnerable to hackers, scammers and malicious acquaintances unless you take steps now to prevent those things from happening.
First of all, it’s important to understand that the things you post on your Facebook Timeline will likely be around long after you have passed on, and once you’re gone it will be too late to remove any embarrassing posts or photos.
This post was written primarily for those who are still active in the workforce, but the principles really apply to everyone. It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of personal information you provide on your “About” page for the reasons explained here.
Remember, once you’re gone, all of that personal information will remain in plain view for the world world to see (and potentially exploit).
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is designate a legacy contact for your account.
The trusted individual you select as your legacy contact will be given complete control over your Facebook account upon your passing.
Think of designating a legacy contact as giving someone you trust “power of attorney” over your account when you are no longer around to handle things yourself.
Upon your passing, your legacy contact will be able to use his/her own discretion in determining how best to handle your orphaned Facebook account (i.e. whether to have it memorialized or deleted outright).
Bottom line: Leaving an orphaned Facebook account unprotected is potentially a recipe for disaster. It only takes a few minutes to request that a deceased loved one’s account be memorialized and designate a legacy contact for your own account.
Bonus tip #1: This post explains how to protect your Facebook account from hackers RIGHT NOW!
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