Sunday, May 29, 2011

Facebook Scams and ID Theft on the Rise

It had to happen!

If YOU Tweet you'll have noticed endless requests from Tweeters deleted by Twitter because they are identified as dangerous or risky. Now imagine now many get through undetected. Facebook is worse because there is so much "stuff" in there - games, polls, surveys, etc. and because you actually believe that those people you have friended (often because they were friends with someone you know personally so they've got to be ok). FOLKS those "friends" are not your friends. And, in 2011 any idiot hacker can spoof your friends, make it seem like a posting is coming from your auntie Mabel and trick you into doing stupid things.

Here is the article from the Boston Globe, "As more people turn to Facebook and Twitter for much of their online communicating, Internet scammers and spammers are trying to cash in by hijacking the names and images of users’ “friends’’ and “followers.’’ They use the stolen identities to place fake come-on's and shady pitches alongside all the funny pictures and snide remarks posted by people legitimately granted access to online accounts.

The goal is to trick users into buying products, volunteering credit card numbers and other personal information, or unknowingly installing malicious software that can damage computers. Too often, the tactics work, according to computer security specialists, in part because of our faith in people we know."

So the 500 million Facebook and 200 million Twitter accounts mean that YOU are vulnerable to the bad intentions and criminal behavior of more people than the entire population of the United States! Plus, as a smart friend said "In the US we trust people until they prove to us we should not trust them." Bad mistake because on the Internet you really don't know who's behind that message - you don't see or hear them. It's just a name. Which may or may not be who is actually contacting or posting you.

Here is some advice: "Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes Internet safety and security, said computer users should train themselves to resist the urge to immediately click on message links, even when they appear to be legitimate. Lack of restraint is something e-crooks count on, he said."

Human beings are impulsive. Ever buy something in the check out line, something you had NO intention of buying? We have! So that's how the scam artists and crooks work as well. “When you’ve been tricked into thinking that you want to do something,’’ said Sophos’s Wisniewski, “you’ll usually bypass any security.’’

And you "click" on that link!

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