Scams and Social Networking Sites

The following information was issued by the IC3 and can be found at http://www.ic3.gov/media/2009/091001.aspx

Techniques Used By Fraudsters On Social Networking Sites

Fraudsters continue to 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.

Another technique used by fraudsters involves applications advertised on social networking sites, which appear legitimate; however, some of these applications install malicious code or rogue anti-virus software. Other malicious software gives the fraudsters 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 apt to click on these sites since they appear to be endorsed by their contacts.

Tips on avoiding these tactics:

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.”

You can select those who have “limited” access to your profile. This is for those whom you do not wish to give full friend status to or with whom you feel uncomfortable sharing personal information.

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.

Those interested in becoming a user of a social networking site and/or current users are recommended to familiarize themselves with the site’s policies and procedures before encountering such a problem.

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.

Individuals who experienced such incidents are encouraged to file a complaint at www.IC3.gov reporting the incident.

More on reporting scams

Often when victims ask “Where can I report these scams?” what they really want to know is how they recover the money that they lost.  The sad truth is that there is no place that you can report this scam to that will be able to recover your money.  To the scam victims, at the moment that they realized that they have been scammed it seems like it would be easy to find and arrest the scammer, and recover the money lost . . . you have their name, email address, phone number and maybe even a mailing address . . . but most if not all of those items are fakes that they use for their “profile”, and the other issue that comes up is jurisdiction, which we spoke about earlier.

So then what can be done?  Different scam fighting websites have different approaches to how they “fight back” against these scammers. 

At Scam Victims United we take the approach of providing information about scams in order to try and educate people before they become a victim.  We have created a Facebook Fan Page  in order to bring our message where people “hang out”.  We would like to see scam education brought into the school systems so that we can give the next generation the tools and resources that they need to recognize and avoid these scams.  We allow people to post scam emails that they receive so that then names, email addresses and company names being used in the scams will come up in search engines.  We also encourage people to report these scams, as we talked about earlier

“Scam Baiting” is another way of fighting back, and there are websites devoted to this.  Scam Baiting is pretending to be interested in the scammer’s offer in order to waste their time, and money, by having them send you counterfeit checks.  The site that I would recommend on this topic is 419eater.com because they will assist new “baiters” in learning the best way to go about this in order to protect yourself. 

Other sites focus on different ways of shutting down the scammers fake websites and closing the emailing accounts that they use by reporting them to the hosting sites or mail providers. One of these sites would be Report-Online-Scams.com

While these sites cannot help you recover your money, they can help you to do something to fight scams.  Education is the key to fighting scams, so talk about it with your friends and family and share sites like this with people you know.
Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more!

New Fan Page!

We just started a fan page for Scam Victims United. 
Please join and tell your friends.
 
Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!
 
Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Find us and connect

We would love to connect with you!  Please find our pages on social networking sites through this link

http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

 

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

“Porn name” scam

I guess there is a new scam going around.  It is in the form of a Twitter “game” (I am sure that Facebook will have a version soon too) where you are asked to post your “porn name”.  It tells you that your porn name is a combination of your pet’s name, the street you live on and your mother’s maiden name.  Well, this is also the same info many people use as their passwords or the security question for people’s bank accounts so if you post it then you have given out that private info and people could get into your accounts.

 

Be careful!

Scammers on FaceBook

I  just read two articles

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/20/latest-facebook-scam-phishers-hit-up-friends-for-cash/

and

http://redtape.msnbc.com/2009/01/post-1.html#posts

that are talking about how scammers are hacking into people’s Facebook accounts, changing their passwords to lock them out, and then sending messages to all of their friends saything that they are overseas and their credit cards will not work and asking friends to wire them money so that they can get home. Now, remember, all of these messages would show up in your inbox on Facebook with your friend’s profile picture right next to the message, making it LOOK like it is really them.

My suggestion . . . if someone asks you to wire them money, even if it appears to be someone that you know, verify that it is them first! If you have their phone number, call them! If you only have Facebook contact info on them, then force them to give you some sort of information that only they would know (remember, the scammer can see their profile so their spouse’s name, kid’s name, where they went to school and things like that are not safe questions)

Best option . . . call them to verify that it is really them. Or tell them to call you collect to verify that it is really them and that you will not send money until you speak with them. If it is a scammer, they may remove you from the friends list so that you cannot post on the person’s wall that this is a scam.

Here is the link that you will need to go to and report this scam if it should happen to you. Save this to your bookmarks because you will be locked out of Facebook and will not be able to get to it when and if you need it.

 http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=account_compromised

Shawn
ScamVictimsUnited.com