Assignment 13: Social Networking Scams

MGN Online
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Online social networks have gone from just being websites to part of the way we live our lives.

A Pew Research Poll released last year shows 73% of adults are part of a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter. But as more people join, it is opening up new opportunities for scamming.

With the help of Eric Jennings, a UWEC Outreach and Instruction Librarian, we have compiled a list of five social media scams.

"There are so many different things from phishing attacks to links not taking you to somewhere you are not supposed to be," Jennings said.

So what scams should you watch out for?

Number 1: Hidden charges. Which "Star Wars" character are you? Do not do it. They want your cell phone number, then they will bill your cell phone company for $10 a month and you will probably never notice it.

Number 2: Fake messages. Ever receive a message from a friend asking you to click a link?

"Every once in a while I will get direct messages from friends that I know they probably wouldn't send out but I think it's just because Twitter accounts get hacked or whatever," said Jillian Kemmet, a UWEC student.

Number 3: Phony links. Phony links can lead to pages that look legitimate but they are bad news.

Number 4: Contests. They often promise winning something for free. Common sense tells you nothing is usually free.

Number 5: Credit card e-mails out of the blue. Visa or MasterCard will not offer to increase your credit limit via e-mail. Check your PayPal account every couple of weeks.

So how do you avoid these scams?

-Limit your Facebook privacy settings to friends.
-Google all suspicious links and contests.
-Assume all strange links from friends are not good. If you miss something good, they will tell you.
-Keep your computer updated.
-Never give an app your mobile number unless you are confident it is legitimate.
-Change your passwords every couple of months.

And finally, live by this rule: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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