Fraud potential on social Web

Teens aren't the only people who need to watch what personal information they upload to social Web sites. "Nearly one in three [31%] social networkers on sites such as Facebook and Friends Reunited risk becoming victims of identity fraud because they are negligent with their personal details," reports the Motley Fool, "making them a prime target for phishing and other ID fraud." What happens is that phishers (online cons) send emails to they harvest from sites of all kinds (not just social-networking ones). The emails look like they're from a person's bank, Paypal, credit card company, or even a porn provider, and they try to trick victims into clicking to a Web site that can upload malicious code to your computer or further trick them into giving personal info like social security or credit card numbers. The Fool was citing research by Equifax, which also found that, "of the 739 people polled (a relatively small survey, but it still has some significant figures), 87% published their full names and 38% their dates of birth, with more than a quarter offering their education and work details." Three key take-aways would make for great family discussion: Everybody needs to 1) select the right privacy and safety features for their particular needs (e.g., only friends can view one's full profile); 2) be really careful about the links they click on in other social networkers' profiles (they could link to malicious sites); and 3) everybody needs to check out the providers of the widgets and other code they paste into their profiles (is the source legit or potentially malicious?). [See also network-security news site DarkReading.com's comparison of potential personal and network vulnerabilities in MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn.]


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