Monday, August 19, 2013

Letter Scams, Email Scams, Facebook Scams. Oh, My!

Think that scammers only attack you via email and snail mail? Think again. Scammers can get you through Facebook, too. One scam that I see a lot of my friends falling for is the 'Like this picture to show you care!' scam. While not immediately malicious, it can get you added to a suckers list. How does this happen? It starts with an innocuous looking picture, quote, video, etc. When you see it on Facebook, it will generally stir up a strong emotion in you. A common example of this that I've seen is the "I have a terminal illness! 'Like' so that the doctors will cure me!" That, combined with a pathetic looking picture, tugs on your heart strings, so you click 'Like,' and go on your merry way.
'Like' isn't helping.
Little do you know, the picture you 'Liked' is a list of suckers, collected for the purpose of selling your name and information to the highest bidder. (How to Avoid FB Scams: C|Net)

Kinda scummy, right?

All you wanted to do was to show that you care. People that make these scams count on that. It all comes down to a bit of basic, human psychology. You see that poor little kid, dog, house plant, whatever, and you think to yourself, "I wish I could do something!" Well, you can, if the caption of the photo is to be believed. Just click like! And, gosh. Does that feel good! Not to mention, your small act of 'kindness' shows up on your Feed, letting all your friends know that you really care. And you'll feel proud of yourself when your friends see the picture and 'Like' it, too. Which plays right into what the scammers want.

I'd be lying if I said that I never felt a twinge of guilt, sorrow, or emotional pain whenever I see those little pictures. Feeling sorry for those people is perfectly natural and completely human. But, in most cases, the person whose picture you're 'Liking' may not even know about the scam, or the use of their picture. So you're not even letting that poor person know that you care!

When it comes to kindness, there really is no 'easy way,' such as 'Liking' a picture. The best way to help people is to walk away from the computer and do something. You can volunteer at your local shelter or thrift store. You can even dedicate your life to helping people by becoming a doctor. Actually helping people is a lot more rewarding and satisfying than just clicking 'Like.' Plus, when you're all done, you can post about it on Facebook and get the 'Likes' from all your friends.

Facebook scams aren't the only scams out there. The US Postal Inspectors have some great videos about scams.
Facebook also has a page to help you learn about scams.

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