Experts: Facebook crime is on the rise

Facebook crime, in its various malicious forms, is soaring, and experts are weighing in to explain why it's happening.

Facebook crime, which includes scams, online bullying, phishing, malware, and many other forms of illegal activities, is soaring and getting more sophisticated, cyber experts have warned. Even crimes that occur after a user posts their GPS location on the social network, such as sexual predation and robberies, are on the rise.

Experts are trying to figure out why these crimes are happening at such a rapid rate. "These types of crimes are designed to use your own actions or weaknesses against you," Lynette Owens, director of Trend Micro's Internet Safety for Kids & Families, told Fox News."As humans, and for good reason, we put trust in others more often than not because most people at most times are worthy of that trust. The online world is no different than the offline world in that sense."

Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont College, believes scammers prey on Facebook users because they don't know their victims. "It's easier to hurt someone when you're not seeing them in person," he said. "Neuroscience research shows that moral violations are less likely when interactions are personal because people empathize with those they meet in person. In the online world, people are just a number."

Ioana Jelea, communication specialist at BitDefender, meanwhile thinks the social scam industry is thriving overall because scammers leverage legitimate Facebook features to persuade people to click on links. Jelea insists that it's not just users' trust in the platform that puts them at risk, but their lack of familiarity with Facebook's security and privacy settings. "Social engineering has reached unprecedented levels, with scam waves being customized according to the very latest events that make the headlines of tabloids," she said. "With celebrity-themed baits, for example, click counts will spike within hours, and as hot topics become 'old news,' they will be dropped and rapidly replaced with fresh meat."

Overall, Facebook users need to learn to be more cautious and weary of what they click on the social network. Doing so will not only help them, but it will improve the overall experience for everyone because it will be harder for such crimes to proliferate across the social network.

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