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When using Facebook, most users think they’re dealing with real people, real companies and honest application developers. Why? After all, it’s still the Internet.

But that’s not the only way people screw up and cause themselves costly errors and legal battles. Here are some easy ways anyone could get caught on the wrong side of the law or out of pocket just from a quick visit to Facebook.

Real Names Does NOT Mean Friendly People

Facebook’s real name policy means that most of the people you see are actually using their real name. It lulls people into a false sense of security, which can lead to trouble. This helps scams like the Western Union transfer scam How I Nearly Got Conned Via A Western Union Transfer Scam How I Nearly Got Conned Via A Western Union Transfer Scam Here's a little story about the latest "Nigerian scam", which is all too obvious in hindsight and yet so believable when you're on the hook. Read More and work at home scams Are You In A Rush To Make Money From Home? Spot 7 Work At Home Scams Are You In A Rush To Make Money From Home? Spot 7 Work At Home Scams Wealth, speed, ethics -- when it comes to money, you can only pick two. When it comes to working from home, it's very likely that you won't get a chance to even pick one of... Read More take hold, because it starts with a local group and a friendly looking face with a real profile. The same goes for most scams on Facebook The Top 5 Current Facebook Scams To Watch Out For The Top 5 Current Facebook Scams To Watch Out For Read More : if the post from your friend looks dodgy, it’s pretty likely they were hacked.

Careless Words Can Cost You

So, you’re grumpy at your boss’s decision and you lashed out in a Facebook update? You could lose your job. Or maybe you griped about a piece of software you use for your job, could that be considered sharing company secrets? If so, you might lose your job and be up for a lawsuit. A bad attitude, inappropriate photos or poor grammar could also make you look like a bad decision in the eyes of an employer.

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Jobs aside, there are other ways to let careless words cost you on Facebook. Recently, a girl called Dana Snay has potentially cost her father $80,000 by telling the world about how he won his lawsuit: all because he had agreed to a confidentiality clause in the fine print. Dana also presumably had the sense to delete the post soon after it caused trouble, but not to remove this reputation-killing photo of herself.

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Another way to get in trouble with the law quickly with careless words is to mention people or products in your updates, as you might unwillingly infringe on trademarks or have your post considered slander or libel (usually only enforced if the company or person doesn’t like your post in some way).

Employers Shouldn’t Look At Profiles Before Interviewing

Good HR managers are probably well aware of this, but small business owners may not have thought of it yet: if you go looking at Facebook profiles before you interview a person, the candidate may well feel they have been discriminated against for some reason. Given how much a lawsuit of that sort could cost you, it’s best to leave these checks until after the interview. Or perhaps never.

Data Costs Can Add Up

When you’re using Wi-Fi at home, it’s no big deal for most people. You look at Facebook on your phone and upload photos and there’s nothing to worry about. Once you start using 3G or 4G data plans, you are usually facing a lower data cap and could face a large bill by using too much data. If you go overseas it gets exponentially worse, with roaming data costs set at exorbitant amounts for most carriers worldwide.

You may recall the story of a British teenager who cost her dad $6,000 by uploading Facebook photos while in America. Now, while her case is exceptional —and she clearly agreed to going over $500 where most people would have stopped — you can see how these things can quickly get out of hand and cause a whopping bill for you to pay.

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Security Risks Can Lead To Financial Loss

If someone got into your Facebook account, what sort of havoc could they wreak? For starters, they’d have enough information to potentially rack up some new bills for you with identity fraud. They could possibly defraud your friends by asking for money, sharing scams and spam, or maybe they could try to hold your account hostage until you pay up. There are many risky security mistakes 5 Common Security Mistakes That Can Put Your Privacy & Money At Risk 5 Common Security Mistakes That Can Put Your Privacy & Money At Risk How vulnerable are you? Ask any person who’s been robbed if it came as a surprise - I guarantee you it did. As the saying goes, the thief always comes in the night when you’re... Read More you can make online and with your smartphone security Ten Common Smartphone Mistakes That Expose You To Security Risks Ten Common Smartphone Mistakes That Expose You To Security Risks The following is a run-down of ten of the most common smartphone mistakes. Read More . Avoid all of them. Also, learn how to protect your Facebook account 5 Things You Can Do NOW To Secure Your Facebook Account & Make It Recoverable 5 Things You Can Do NOW To Secure Your Facebook Account & Make It Recoverable To most of us this is the biggest nightmare. You want to log into your Facebook account and your password no longer works. In the worst of cases, someone managed to hack your account and... Read More , how to log out on other devices How To Log Yourself Out Of Facebook On Other Devices And Improve Your Security [Weekly Facebook Tips] How To Log Yourself Out Of Facebook On Other Devices And Improve Your Security [Weekly Facebook Tips] For many Facebook users, it's good to occasionally brush up on your security knowledge and see if there's a better way you could be doing things. Despite Facebook's tendency to expose your information as publicly... Read More , and how to set up trusted contacts Add Facebook Trusted Contacts To Ensure You Can Recover Your Account Add Facebook Trusted Contacts To Ensure You Can Recover Your Account It happens all the time. People forget their password, accounts get hacked, or Facebook decides they have violated the Terms of Service and bans them. And when they try to recover their account, they realize... Read More .

Competitions Can Get You Into Trouble

If you have a page, it’s common to want to run competitions to get a little publicity. But did you know that asking people to “Share to enter” could get your page banned? That could be a costly mistake. All that work to build the page up could be gone in an instant. You might want to check out ways to run your Facebook competitions within the rules How To Run Facebook Competitions With The New Page Promotions Policy [Weekly Facebook Tips] How To Run Facebook Competitions With The New Page Promotions Policy [Weekly Facebook Tips] Non-technical Facebook Page owners can now breathe a sigh of relief. Facebook has finally changed their promotions guidelines so you no longer have to make apps in order to run competitions on your Facebook page.... Read More .

Are You Sure You Can Sell That?

Despite Facebook being a great marketplace and meeting place for people who want to buy and sell goods, are you really sure you can sell Selling Stuff On Facebook: Everything You Need To Know Selling Stuff On Facebook: Everything You Need To Know With Facebook, we can take to the Internet, raise our For Sale signs high, and proclaim "Yes! I do want your money for this toaster with an unpredictable short in the cord!" Before you decide... Read More the things you have? For instance, it’s not always legal to buy or sell second-hand software Is Buying Second-Hand Software Legal? Is Buying Second-Hand Software Legal? This is by no means a legal document and don't think that this substitutes for the opinions of an officer of the court. Let me be clear - I'm going to present to you the... Read More , depending on your local laws and the various EULAs you may have signed 10 Ridiculous EULA Clauses That You May Have Already Agreed To 10 Ridiculous EULA Clauses That You May Have Already Agreed To Let’s be honest, no one reads EULA's (End User Licensing Agreement) - we all just scroll down to the bottom and click "I Accept". EULAs are full of confusing legalese to make them incomprehensible to... Read More with a mandatory update.

You should really make sure you know what you’re allowed to do and which things will land you in hot water. And in case you consider these offline crimes, there are police who do check Facebook and connect the dots. If you use your Facebook profile to make the sale, you make their job really easy.

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More Crimes You Could Commit Online

MakeUseOf has previously covered another selection of interesting crimes you can commit on your computer From The Web To Jail: 6 Types of Computer Crimes You Can Get Arrested For From The Web To Jail: 6 Types of Computer Crimes You Can Get Arrested For Governments across the world have tried to tame the Internet as a tempest of new technology threatens everything from strict government censorship and control over the media to entrenched media conglomerates and old concepts of... Read More , usually unwittingly, that is well worth a look if you want more information on this. Many of these are dependent on where you live, so they may not apply to you. However, it’s interesting to see that you could potentially be arrested for using Skype in Ethiopia, or forwarding emails in Syria. Your office sports pool could be illegal too, so watch out!

What huge, costly mistakes have you seen people make on Facebook?

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