Survey: Many Facebook users not using privacy settings

Survey: Many Facebook users not using privacy settings »Play Video
It appears millions of people aren't using the privacy settings on Facebook, and that can potentially lead to theft of the user's identity and property.

Attorney Kevin Jolly was shocked when he found someone had created a fake page in his name and used it to send messages to his friends.

"He portrayed me as a very flamboyant gay man who wanted to share his sexual desires in a very, very graphic way," Jolly said.

Jolly quickly contacted Facebook, but he said it took several emails and almost a month before the imposter profile was removed.

"Their security department was horrible," he said.

Problems with Facebook are on the rise, up 30 percent in the last year, according to a Consumer Reports/National Research Center survey. It was conducted in January among a nationally-representative sample of more than 2,000 online households.

"We estimate that seven million Facebook users ran into trouble in the past year, everything from someone using their login without their permission to them being harassed or threatened," said Kim Kleman of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports also found that personal information users put on their Facebook page can come back to haunt them.

An estimated 4.8 million user posted where they would be on a certain day, which can tip off burglars. 4.7 million users "liked" a page about medical conditions or treatments, which are details a health insurer might use against them.

"Employers can also look for clues in wall posts and photos that may play into whether you get hired," Kleman said.

Consumer Reports said the government is also peeking at your data. For instance, a 2009 IRS training manual shows how to use social networking sites to "assist in resolving a taxpayer case."

Users can restrict who sees their Facebook wall posts and photos by updating their privacy settings, but 17 percent of current users said they didn't use the settings, according to Consumer Reports.

The controls are particularly important for kids on Facebook to head off stalking. Children under 13-years old are not supposed to use Facebook, but Consumer Reports estimates more than five million children are on there.