Internet Crime: Fraudsters on Social Networking Sites


Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: October 1, 2009

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has prepared a report entitled “Techniques Used by Fraudsters on Social Networking Sites.” Basically, the fraudsters hijack accounts in order to spread malicious software via various techniques:

  • Use of spam to promote phishing sites, claiming a violation of terms of agreement or some other issue that needs to be resolved
  • Asking you to download an application or view a video
  • Some spam appears to come from a friend’s e-mail, thereby giving the appearance of legitimacy
  • Some involve applications advertised on social networking sites, again giving the appearance of legitimacy.

INFECTION!

Once the victim responds to the phishing site, downloads the application, clicks the video or link, their computer, telephone or other digital device becomes infected. Others install malicious code or rogue anti-virus software. Yet others give the fraudsters access to your profile and personal information and begin sending messages to your “friends” list instructing them to install the new application, too!!!

PROTECT YOURSELF! TIPS ON AVOIDING THESE TACTICS

The IC3 has graciously provided the following tips to avoid these tactics:

  • Adjust Web site privacy settings to help protect your identity
  • Be selective of your friends because your “friends” can access any info marked as “viewable by all friends”
  • Provide only limited access to your profile to those with whom you don’t feel comfortable sharing personal information
  • Disable options and then open them one by one such as texting, photos sharing, etc. If you’re using the site only to keep in touch with people, it may be better to turn off the extra options that won’t be used
  • Be careful what you click on. Posting a link or video to someone’s wall doesn’t insure that it’s safe
  • Familiarize yourself with the site’s policies and procedures. Check their FAQ’s.

If you experience a fraudster type incident, report it to www.IC3.gov

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