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Ask an expert: Despite being warned by a friend, I found myself on what I think is a 'scam' social networking site...

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Zoe E Breen Zoe E Breen | 18:17 UK time, Friday, 10 February 2012

...I now have three anonymous comments on my page which seemed to be fabricated as I can think of no-one I know who would write such rubbish. The problem with this site anyone can add to the site whether you know them or not.

This site offers to remove you for a fee. It also tracks your Facebook profile so if you amend your photo on Facebook, the profile on this other site is the same. The only way I can think of getting rid of it is to get my ID changed with Facebook but unless you are reporting a specific comment on Facebook, there is no central e-mail address you can contact to ask for advice.

Answered by our panel of experts:

Unfortunately there are a number of these sites around and it can be very easy to suddenly find that you are being subject to unwanted comments or contacts. Some of these scam sites offer "too good to be true" services. And, as this particular individual has discovered, some will use the site as a front to extort money in order to remove an individual.

Unfortunately most of these sites fall outside of the jurisdiction of the UK so it is very difficult to have any legal approach to them, particular when someone has voluntarily signed up to the service. Without knowing the specific site it can be difficult to give advice about how to remove content.

However, the point you make about Facebook should be easier to deal with. Facebook does indeed allow other apps to access information from your profile, but you can take control of this.

If you go to privacy settings and then apps and websites you will be able to see all of the different apps that you are using and can then edit the settings for each individual app. This will at least allow you to check out what apps you have downloaded and delete any that you are not happy with (instructions here). Further help is available on this from Facebook.

You are also able to change your Facebook username, but can only do this once. Once again it so often comes down to privacy and so it can be worth changing your password just in case someone has managed to get access.

For more information on security and avoiding scams read this PDF from Facebook. Again, the Safer Internet Centre's Professional Online Safety Helpline (helpline@saferinternet.org.uk) might be able to liaise with Facebook on an individual's behalf if you want to create a new profile and get the old one removed.

If you are a parent and are worried about your teen or child over-sharing online visit the Share Take Care: Ask an expert page to read the advice our panel of experts gave other parents.

Visit the Share Take Care website for more information on help and support for parents.



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