Many thousands of people use Facebook every day. Look at the websites you visit, and I’m sure it’s one of them. But, did you know it’s a piece of cake for someone to get your personal information from you to use against you? All they have to do is ask simple questions, or pose as your friend to find out what the password is to your bank account. Crooks understand that most people use the same password for everything. Find out one important thing about you, and they’re golden.
An article recently posted online lists the few basic ways your information can be stolen right out from under your nose. In fact, most of the time, YOU’RE the one giving the information to the crooks, through your own keystrokes! Here’s the list of things to watch out for:
1. Who knows you best?
The message reads:
Can you do this? My middle name __________, my age ___, my favorite soda _______, my birthday ___/___/___, whose the love of my life ______, my best friend _____, my favorite color ______, my eye color _______, my hair color ______ my favorite food ________ and my mom’s name __________. Put this as your status and see who knows you best.
How many of these are the same facts your bank asks to verify your identity? Put this as your status and everybody — including all the people who want to hijack your bank account and credit cards — will know you well enough to make a viable attempt.
2. Your friend [Name here] just answered a question about you!
Was it possible that an old friend answered a question about me that I needed to “unlock?” Absolutely. But when you click on the link, the next screen should give you pause: 21 Questions is requesting permission to … (a) access your name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, friends and any other information shared with everyone … (b) send you email … (c) post to your wall … and … (d) access your data any time … regardless of whether or not you’re using their application.
Can you take that access back — ever? It sure doesn’t look like it. There’s no reference to how you can stop them from future access to your data in their “terms and conditions.” Worse, it appears that to “unlock” the answer in your friend’s post, you need to answer a bunch of questions about your other friends and violate their privacy too. …The roughly 850 people who joined “People Who Hate 21 Questions on Facebook” apparently have [given their information] and can give you insight into just how pernicious this program can be.
3. LOL. Look at the video I found of you!
This is the most dangerous of all the spam messages and it comes in a variety of forms, says Clare. It’s actually a bid to surreptitiously install malware on your computer. This malware can track your computer keystrokes and record your sign-in and password information with all of your online accounts.
How does it work? When you click on the link, it says that you need to upgrade your video player to see the clip. If you hit the “upgrade” button, it opens your computer to the crooks, who ship in their software. You may be completely unaware of it until you start seeing strange charges hit your credit cards or bank account. Up-to-date security software should stop the download. If you don’t have that, watch out.
Better yet, if you really think some friend is sending you a video clip, double-check with the friend to be sure before you click on the link. When I messaged my high-school classmate to ask if she’d really sent this, she was horrified. Her Facebook account had been hijacked and anyone who clicked through was likely to have their account hijacked too. That’s how this virus spreads virally.
4. We’re stuck!
It started out as an email scam, but now the “We’re stuck in [Europe/Asia/Canada] and need money” scam has moved to instant messages on Facebook, where it can be more effective. Most people have learned not to react to the email, but instant messages help crooks by forcing you to react emotionally — They’re right there. They need help, now. A friend got one of these messages last week from the parents of a close friend. Her reaction was the perfect way to deal with it: She immediately called her friend and said “Have you talked to your parents lately?” The response: “Yeah. They’re right here.”
Facebook has launched a security system to combat account hijacking that allows crooks to send messages and posts through your account. You can get updates on what they’re doing at Facebook’s security page, where they’ve also got a nice little security quiz that’s definitely worth taking.
This list is by Kathy Kristof, and originally posted on www.yahoo.com.
All in all, BE CAREFUL with the information you give out, no matter who you think you’re giving it to, and always check in with people you know who’ve sent you something suspicious or odd.