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Watch For Scams Newsletter, Issue #0014 - Social Networking Scams
October 05, 2009
Social Networking Scams
Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
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Social Networking ScamsThe Internet Crime Complaint Centre [IC3] has recently released a report covering how scammers hijack accounts on social networking sites and spread malicious software by using various techniques.
One technique involves the use of spam to promote phishing sites, claiming there has been a violation of the terms of agreement or some other type of issue which needs to be resolved. Other spam entices users to download an application or view a video.
Some spam appears to be sent from users' "friends", giving the perception of being legitimate. Once the user responds to the phishing site, downloads the application, or clicks on the video link, their computer, telephone or other digital device becomes infected.
Some of the malicious software installed gives the scammers access to your profile and personal information. These programs will automatically send messages to your "friends" list, instructing them to download the new application too.
Infected users are often unknowingly spreading additional malware by having infected Web sites posted on their Webpage without their knowledge. Friends are then more likely to click on these sites since they appear to be supported by their contacts.
How to Avoid the Social Networking Scams
* Adjust Web site privacy settings. Some networking sites have provided useful options to assist in adjusting these settings to help protect your identity.
* Be selective of your friends. Once selected, your "friends" can access any information marked as "viewable by all friends."
* Disable options and then open them one by one such as texting and photo sharing capabilities. Users should consider how they want to use the social networking site. If it is only to keep in touch with people then perhaps it would be better to turn off the extra options which will not be used.
* Be careful what you click on. Just because someone posts a link or video to their "wall" does not mean it is safe.
Each social networking site may have different procedures on how to handle a hijacked or infected account; therefore, you may want to reference their help or FAQ page for instructions.
If you are a victim of an online scheme, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov
Remember - always watch for scams!
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