Men More Likely to Befriend Sexy Strangers in Facebook Scams

Men are more likely than women to be the victims of identity theft on Facebook, but nobody is safe from scammers, especially with the rise of social media on mobile devices.

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Men! Show them a picture of a pretty girl and all of a sudden they’re sharing all kinds of information over the internet. That’s what internet security software company BitDefender found in a recent survey, according to the Daily Mail.

The poll of 1,649 internet users from the United States and U.K. found that 64.2% of women rejected friend requests from strangers, while only 55.4% of men did. The Daily Mail also claims that “the survey results showed men were more likely to hit the ‘confirm’ button on a friend request if it was accompanied by a ‘hot-looking’ woman.”

This, obviously, is not much of a surprise. Lonely men in front of their computers make all kinds of questionable decisions. Luckily, photos of beefy dudes didn’t fool many women into adding random Facebook accounts.

(MORE: FBI, Estonian Police Shut Down $14 Million Botnet Scam)

“Even if statistics show that there are more women on social media than men, it seems like men expose themselves more to the risks,” George Petre, BitDefender product manager and author of the report, wrote to TIME in an email from the company’s offices in Romania. “It may be the same reason [why] most of the traffic on adult rated websites is made by men [sic].”

So, what’s the worst that can happen when befriending an unknown Facebook user? According to Gary Davis, director of consumer product marketing at McAfee, Facebook’s security partner, it’s identity theft for adults and bullying or worse for teens.

Another boon for scammers has been the rise of people going beyond their computers to check their Facebook feeds. “We find that a lot of people are signing on to social networks through tablets and mobile devices, so that’s where a lot of the problems are coming from now,” said Davis.

If you do get fooled, it’s best to immediately report it to Facebook, which you can do by clicking the “Help” option at the bottom right corner of any Facebook page.

The problem, according to Petre, is that while previous internet scams relied on shady emails, the human element of social networks sometimes makes people who normally take precautions let their guards down. There are, however, things you can do to prevent yourself from befriending scammers in the first place.

Here is a list of red flags to look out for when you get a Facebook friend request:

  • The person has created the profile within the last few days.
  • The person’s profile is incomplete.
  • The profile picture features something other than a clear, recognizable face.
  • You have no friends in common.
  • The person has become friends with too many of your friends in a short period of time.
  • None of your information (e.g. location, job or hometown) matches.

In the end, there probably isn’t much that can be done to cut down on the number of scammers out there. “If you look at a map of where this stuff is coming from,” said Davis, “It’s from North America, Asia, the Middle East—this is a global threat, its coming from everywhere.”

MORE: Don’t Forget to Leave Your Facebook Password In Your Will

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