Share content with your friends and fans!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TechnoGrannyShow, 13 Unlucky Ways that Criminals Use Social Media & Prevention

Topic: Ways criminals use social media + prevention tips

Are those who refuse to use Social Media because they don't want to be exposed on the internet paranoid? Maybe not!  Are you too casual with what you post on social media? Probably! From the ordinary threats like PHISHING and MALWARE to Affinity Scams and Cybercasing and Cyberstalking find out how you may be exposing yourself easily to the criminal mind. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow that your careless info is used but remember how long that info stays on the net. Listen in so that you can learn to be more vigilant. 

To Get the Full Story Listen Here: 

It's not just about protecting your passwords!
With online users consistently tasked with sharing more personal information -- and generally receiving less disclosure about it -- just who can access that information becomes difficult to tell. This culture of sharing, whether purposeful or not, can leave users vulnerable to criminal attack, a topic that I have explored before with regard to Facebook Friends and who you accept and also Identity Theft.

Like many of us, I have a  friend who refuses to use social media, convinced the sites make it too easy for the government and criminals to keep track of individuals. Though that may seem farfetched, there is much research to shed light on criminal activity on the web.

For example, users who openly discuss not being at home in posts on Twitter might as well leave their doors unlocked.   While sharing your plans to take in a play may seem innocent, it allows for cybercriminals to gather all the information they need if they want to rob an empty house, particularly when coupled with the sophisticated software they can use to amalgamate data.

Is that gift worth exposing your  vacant home?
In the same vein, although I advise my marketing clients to offer rewards for geo-checkins into locations via FourSquare while they may be good for businesses, I stay away from that practice I caution you  to consider the same as to not make it easy for potential cyberstalkers to narrow down interests and locations frequented by specific users. When you are tweeting or posting that you are leaving for the beach, you might want to consider who is staying behind to watch the family homestead.  After all considering how easy technology has made it to harvest information, many criminals now case their prey exclusively online.

When it comes to attempted online crime, I can speak from experience. In fact, were it not for my online savvy, one of my close friends could have lost a thousand dollars through a fraudulent Craigslist transaction.  You can hear this story on the show.

"Cyber casing" often goes unnoticed.
Some of the things that I discuss on this show:  Now ubiquitous term, phishing, which, at its root, simply refers to trying to attain personal information from an online user through deceptive means. Since phishing scams are well-publicized, their success rates remain quite low, but, with such a high volume of attempts, just a few successful schemes can net a profit for online crooks.

Another information outlet criminals can prey upon is geotagging. Many pictures and videos posted online contain easily accessible metadata that contains the geographic coordinates that content was shot at. While such information is used for a public feature like Instagram's photo maps, it is also of great interest to criminals. There are studies that show how quickly and accurately geotagging can lead a criminal to a target.

Not every internet pitfall has a warning.

Aside from discussing several more studies and methods of online criminals, I offer several tips on how to stay safe online. Personally, I abstain from connecting with anyone I do not know on sites like LinkedIn.  I keeps my birthday off social networks and proactively claim my name on social networks to protect against the threat of profile cloning, or the act of posing as an individual on social networks, maybe in an attempt to commit affinity fraud (scheming family and friends through the trust of knowing someone personally).

I offer additional tips, too, underlining the importance of choosing a strong password and exercising care when using third party sites and applications, amongst other safeguards. 

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith, Techno Granny Show™ 2013,
Dreamweaver Marketing Associates, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15230, 412-628-5048
Or on its unique radio channel at:
Additional blog posts at:
Joanne Quinn-Smith is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an expert on Web 2.0 Branding.
2009 SBA Small Business Journalist of the Year

No comments: