Thursday, May 30, 2013

Social Media Scams and Hacks

We see a lot of warnings on social media about scam's, hacking and identity theft and whilst a lot of the messages although well intentioned actually started as merely mischievous scaremongering, don't become complacent. It's the old tale of the boy who cried wolf. A lot of us have no idea how to protect ourselves in this digital age, who is for real and who is the con or perhaps more aptly 'clone'.

A lot of people (including me) love the fact that we can catch up with our loved ones, family and friends worldwide so easily, efficiently and affordably. Having grown up in an era that started well before the digital age I can assure you that the baby boomers certainly appreciate what social media has to offer. Just as we have secured our privacy, family and possessions throughout our 50+ years we need to take those same steps with social media.

Just as we formed and joined Neighbourhood watch, Crime Stoppers and the like to aid in the protection of our physical well being we need to know where to look for our ongoing digital well being and that's what I'm about to share with you now. I will link each of the sites (in 'CAPITALS') that I have found to be useful and suggest that you bookmark them for easy access. I would also appreciate feedback and additional links that I can share.

In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, we first need to identify which is nuisance scaremongering and which needs to be taken seriously. I have found 'SNOPES' (Scams) and 'FACEBOOK' (Common Myths about Facebook) to be great sites for quickly checking the validity of claims such as the "Cancer baby Facebook appeal" and "See who has been looking at your  timeline?"

It is also wise to stay abreast of current digital developments and sources for this information can be very varied so I would recommend Google search but use common sense when discerning which link may be appropriate and never connect to a site that displays a warning no matter what! I personally find 'TECHNEWS' to be very informative when researching all things digital.

An example of some current research that I am undertaking is regarding the claim's of "Facebook cloning" and some of the information I have uncovered makes for interesting reading but I must stress that I have not concluded this research at this time and the linked article should not be taken at face value.

There is no need for me to reinvent the wheel when advising you how to protect yourself, so I will simply say if it looks suspicious don't touch it, if it looks too good to be true, it usually isn't true so don't go there. Remember you can't win the lottery if you have not bought a ticket so please allow common sense to prevail. In the meantime here are "6 social networking steps" to help you.

"2 step verification" is on the horizon for all social media and friends, this is a very good thing so please keep the complaining about change to a minimum "Change is inevitable, resisting is like holding your breath, if you succeed - you are dead!" - Winston Churchill.

This blog is about social media and the ways to help yourself stay safe in our digital world but I'm just going to throw in a bit on Credit Cards and online shopping. Before entering your details, nay! even before shopping online, make sure that you have every bit of browsing protection available turned on and yes it will probably come with an ongoing cost as does home and contents insurance etc. get used to it or be prepared for the worst case scenario - as Aleksandr would say "Simples!"

Seriously though whilst the world is awesome, it has a very sick and dangerous side to it make no mistake. If you don't believe me, try turning off all controls on Google search and type your worst nightmare - shocked? should be!

Take a moment or two to review your settings on Facebook and the other social networks, protect yourself and those you love and enjoy this wonderful age of communication, my generation knows what I'm talking about because we have all lost at least one of our nearest and dearest without communicating enough and once they are gone it's simply too late. Protect this digital freedom!

Till next time - Take Care.