CINCINNATI - You may think friends and family are the only people looking at your profile on Facebook, but new research shows they aren’t the only ones interested in your posts.
Debt collectors, potential employers and lawyers could be finding out much more than you'd want them to based on your Facebook profile, according to an Investopedia article . And while privacy settings may deter some people from seeing too much, Facebook users should be wary of who can access their information and what they will do with it.
Some debt collectors are using Facebook to find and harass people about the money they owe. Although it is not forbidden for collectors to post on your Facebook wall or ask your contacts of your whereabouts, they cannot post about your debt, which is a serious breach of privacy.
It’s not only about your resume when it comes to job hunting — more and more employers are turning to Facebook to learn about candidates. According to a 2009 Careerbuilder survey , 45 percent of employers check your social media presence when hiring, and about 35 percent of employers reported that they have found content on social networking sites that led them to not hire the candidate. Some employers have even gone as far as to ask candidates for their Facebook passwords to access their information.
Some lawyers are turning to the social network for evidence. In April 2011, a "disabled" Staten Island woman tried to get lifetime alimony from her ex-husband after an accident and claimed she couldn’t work, rarely left her house and didn’t socialize because of injuries. When lawyers perused her Facebook posts , they discovered the opposite and that she was able-bodied and employed. The alimony was lost when lawyers used the Facebook finding as evidence in the court.
Experts suggest taking a second look at your privacy settings to prevent prying eyes from seeing your Facebook profile. It might seem safe to let people who graduated from the same college as you view your profile, but this could include thousands of people who you may not know, and who may have ulterior motives when checking out your profile.
Experts say the best advice is to keep your profile clean and professional and to only become friends with people you know.
To read the full Investopedia article, go to http://finance.yahoo.com/news/whos-watching-facebook-213557740.html .
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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