How to Protect Yourself From Social Media Crimes

Although the Internet has helped society progress in ways that were unimaginable before, it has also helped criminals find new ways to exploit innocent victims. Crimes like identity theft, online banking fraud, and cyber-blackmail put a new spin on age-old wrong-doings.

When it comes to privacy, there are tons of people online trying to take it away from you. Let’s make one fact very clear–privacy is extremely hard to protect online. If you don’t want something to be known, don’t put it online at all. Let’s say that again: DON’T PUT IT ONLINE AT ALL.

Some people think that posting photo albums, happy thoughts about their new puppy, and negative comments about their boss or neighbor are somehow private only for them to view. Wrong. As soon as it hits the Internet, humans, bots, and spiders alike will be reading and scanning your content, perhaps using it for less-than-noble intentions.

So, if it isn’t something you would say, show, or do outside your front door, it’s definitely not something you would want the entire planet to observe either.

This suggestion isn’t just to save you from mild embarrassment. People have been known to exploit what should have been your private affairs, engaging in blackmail or other types of fraud. This can occur even if you don’t post any private information.

Just having a social media account on a networking site like Facebook can lure you into a potentially harmful situation, as hackers have been known to send fake status updates to people, luring them in with fake messages that take advantage of information they post. They are enticed into clicking innocent-looking links which actually end up being malware or phishing attacks that can infiltrate users’ accounts without their consent.

You can prevent becoming a victim simply by avoiding communication with anyone other than legitimate, bonafide friends. Yes, your mother was right even before the invention of the Internet–do not talk to strangers.

If that seems to severe for you, then at least try to verify communication from new people. Avoiding scammers from Nigeria and the Ukraine is a given, but others may need a bit more investigation.

If a message looks like it is a cookie cutter, boilerplate script, delete it. Do not click on links unless you are absolutely sure of them. Check where the link goes before you open it. Do a little bit of research on the domain name to see if it is linked with any scams that have been previously reported by other would-be victims.

You may want to take this advice a step further by checking out any links even your good friends send you, as their accounts may have been compromised by an attack as well.

If, for example, your friend suddenly starts sending you emails to join some new website using a language they have never spoken before, chances are they are a victim of a social media crime. The best thing to do is delete the message immediately and warn them about their account being compromised by another means (i.e., telephone or in-person dialogue).

Source by BigPond News

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