Have you heard about or seen Facebook birthday causes? Where does someone ask their friends to donate to a cause of their choice instead of buying them a gift? This can be done either through their profile, or a user can create a page in order to make the request for a donation.
This Facebook option has only been in around since late 2017 and has become a huge hit with Facebook users. To the point where they donated more than $300 million in the first year to a variety of different charities. To date, there are about 750,000 non-profit organisations that are using this tool.
Since Facebook can see that this feature is clearly a hit, and users are onboard, they intend to offer more features, including the ability to match donations and organisation to fundraisers. It’s also possible to set up a recurring monthly donation.
Facebook announced these details when they celebrated the one-year anniversary of the tool. At the time the top beneficiaries include the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Cancer Society, St. Jude, Share Our Strength—No Kid Hungry and the ASPCA.
It all sounds great, right? Instead of giving a gift that they probably don’t want to or need to, you can donate the corresponding cost to someone truly in need.
But wait. Just how safe is it to use this tool? There’s no need to worry, right? I mean, Facebook has never had any kind of security breach, right?
Yes, I’m rolling my eyes here.
How to Safely Donate Money on Facebook
Use a VPN
First, consider logging into Facebook only when you’re using a VPN or Virtual Private Network. Frankly, you should do this whether you’re donating money or not. Using a VPN will provide you with a layer of anonymity. Of course, if you’re plastering your life all over Facebook, that likely isn’t much of a concern to you, but it really should be.
There is a multitude of free and premium VPNs to choose from, and it seems like there are more popping up every day, so you might have your work cut out for when it comes to picking one. Just make sure to find out what features are offered—as this varies by service—and read up on the reviews.
To get you started, check this review of NordVPN
It should be mentioned that a VPN isn’t going to be limited to protecting you while using Facebook. In reality, it will protect you anywhere you go online. And these days, since we all do a lot of online travelling, it might be easier than you think to end up somewhere that could exploit you or your data. Doing all that travelling is now safe because of that layer of anonymity mentioned above. Not only is your own IP address hidden when visiting different sites, but all of your data is also encrypted as well.
Secure Your Devices
One would hope that you’ve taken steps to make sure your devices are secure already. And actually, that should be done way before you even think of the VPN mentioned above.
You want to make sure that your desktop, laptop, and mobile devices—so anything you can access the internet on—have some sort of security measures. You need to make sure your operating system is up to date. Not that you have the newest OS, but one that is still being patched. Don’t hold off on those patches; download and install them immediately.
With regards to your mobile devices, make sure whatever apps you use to conduct sensitive business, like send and receive money, are up to date.
On top of all of that, make sure you have a solid antivirus program and firewall running. Never surf the internet without this form of protection.
Secure your Browser
Make sure your browser is up to date, either the web or the app version. New threats are launched regularly in the form of phishing sites, Trojans, spyware, adware, viruses and so on. An outdated browser could leave you vulnerable to any number of these.
Use your own System
Now that you’ve taken the time to do all of the above, only use your own devices to send or receive money online. You have no idea what kind of security holes another system has.
Any site where you can send money—like donating to a Facebook birthday cause—will require a password.
How strong is your password? Don’t make it easier for hackers to find your credit or banking info by having an easy to guess the password. Make it long and complicated. With letters, numbers, and symbols. Upper and lowercase. Preferably, all jumbled up.
Some find this feature an annoyance and will refuse to implement it. I strongly advise using this feature where ever it’s offered. This makes it harder to enter your account, and it also means you’ll know if someone other than you tried to enter it.
All of these steps may seem like a lot of work. But if you ever end up with a security breach, you’ll wish you’d taken the time.