Monthly Archives: November 2011

5 Rules of Facebook Etiquette

 By Elizabeth Brownfield

Facebook is a blessing for busy women. You can easily and quickly stay connected with friends and family, find old friends, foster new relationships and network professionally. There’s only one problem: Facebook etiquette isn’t always as clear-cut as are good manners in the real world. In fact, navigating social situations in a virtual world can be downright tricky.

All it takes to avoid a Facebook faux pas, however, is knowing a few do’s and don’ts. Check out this guide to Facebook etiquette:

1. DO write a personal message when making a friend request.
If you haven’t talked to the person in years, it’s likely he or she may not remember you, says Linda Fogg Phillips, a social media expert and author of Facebook for Parents. Just go with a short message that puts you in context, like, “Haven’t seen you since college! Let’s reconnect.”

Want to friend someone you’ve never met? Send a separate message before making a friend request. Otherwise, you can seem intrusive, not to mention presumptuous, and they may ignore you. In the message, explain yourself — that a mutual pal suggested you connect, for example — then wait for a response before sending the friend request.

2. DON’T be a Debbie Downer.
It’s OK to vent and commiserate on Facebook, but if you make it a regular habit, your pals will get tired of your grumbles. Instead, stay positive and hold back when angry. That way, you’ll never regret an online rant. “You can delete a post, but you can’t erase the words from [the minds of] the people who’ve already read it,” says Phillips.

3. DO make and manage friend lists.
“The list function is one of Facebook’s best tools,” says Phillips. It allows you to choose who sees certain posts, so you can set it so only your college pals see those bachelorette party photos. Phillips suggests creating an “A List,” of your closest friends and family. Then, make a larger family or friends list, a list of work contacts and so on. (Friends can be part of more than one list.)

4. DON’T make Facebook a popularity contest.
Do you really need — or want — 800 friends? “Studies have shown that people can only manage about 150 relationships in their lives — face-to-face or online,” says Phillips. When you get a request from someone you don’t want to befriend, neither confirm nor decline it. (If you decline, she could send another later.) Don’t worry about offending her: “Most people send requests, then forget about them; they may not even notice you aren’t responding,” says Phillips.

5. DO be careful of what you post.
It seems obvious, but even something as benign as “The weekend cannot come soon enough!” may appear sour to your boss or co-worker. Plus, your next job opportunity could come from a Facebook contact, so always cast yourself in a positive light, says Phillips. Making and managing friend lists helps avoid problems, but also apply a common-sense filter to all posts.

When people run into Facebook etiquette problems, it’s usually because they’ve taken liberties they might not have taken in the non-virtual world. But stop for a second and use your common sense, and you’ll master the manners of Facebook in less time than it takes to poke your old college roomie.

Elizabeth Brownfield has been on the editorial staffs of Metropolitan Home, Domino, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is also a writer for TastingTable.com.

Spams & Scams: A Pair of Facebook Frauds to Avoid

You cannot find out how many people view your profile
by Jessica Citizen | Last updated 12:00AM EST on January 28, 2011

Spams & Scams: A pair of Facebook frauds to avoid
It’s been designed to appeal to our most basic, narcissistic instincts — a Facebook application that lets you know how many people have looked at your profile. Another promises to remind you of what your first status update was.

The number of users posting updates from these applications is only rivaled by the number of their well-meaning friends posting alerts that the whole thing’s a scam, designed to steal your personal information.

While equally annoying, these friends are actually onto something. Technically, these apps aren’t stealing anything that you’re not already publishing, but neither application tells you exactly what it’s going to do with the information — and it’ll access just about everything you’ve ever even thought about putting in your profile.

How does it work?
Using an assortment of different names, the general approach used by these applications is the same. The developers expect people to notice posts by their friends about their first Facebook status, the number of people who’d checked out their profile, or other seemingly innocuous things.

Intrigued, the victim decides to find out what her first post was, so she clicks the link below the post. The standard warning pops up, asking her to give the application permission to access her personal details. Obviously, to find her first status, the program will have to dig down a little bit, right? So she accepts the warning and eagerly anticipates the trip down Memory Lane.

But wait — Memory Lane was never supposed to be paved with online surveys, was it? By the time the warning bells have started ringing for our victim, the app has already posted on her wall — three times — including a fake first status she never wrote and a recommendation for other people to try the app. Then the cycle starts again, as one of the victim’s friends sees the post and wonders what his first status was.

Why does it do that?
There are a few reasons these sorts of scams get created. Firstly, harvesting your personal information is a theoretical gold mine of data that can then be sold to the highest bidder to pad out spam email lists or be used in targeted advertising.

Secondly, there is a slightly more real gold mine hidden behind the surveys. The more surveys that are filled out, the more money the creator will receive.

There’s another reason too, which is more insidious but is not necessarily present in every scam of this sort. After you’ve added the app and filled out the survey, you may be asked to download a piece of software. It might be disguised as a tracking device, something that will help monitor the number of people looking at your profile page. Once downloaded and installed, this piece of software — known as malware — may make you more susceptible to future spam attacks and annoying pop-ups in your browser, or it may even lock you out of your own software. Particularly malicious variants may install further software on your computer that will steal your personal information, including passwords, credit card information, or internet banking details.

What can you do?
What if you’ve already clicked? It’s important to clean up any traces of the app on your profile. Delete the posts it made on your wall, and remove the application from your profile settings. You will not need to change your password (although you can, if it will make you feel safer).

If you’ve noticed any weird things happening on your computer after falling for this scam, it’s a good idea to run an anti-malware program. Microsoft Security Essentials is a great start — it’s free for Windows users and runs in the background of your operating system. The program will find and squish almost any nastiness lurking on your computer and help protect you in the future. Even if you don’t think you’re infected, it’s still be a good idea to install this one!

(For the record, if you’re using a Mac, you’ve got a little less to worry about. Your operating system is pretty secure, so you shouldn’t be affected by malware and other unpleasantness. However, keeping a current anti-malware program on your system is still something we recommend.)

Be alert
Don’t trust apps from unknown creators who want to connect with your profile and access your personal information, regardless of what the app might claim to do for you. There are currently no apps on Facebook that will measure profile views or keep track of who has visited your profile page — and there is no way of knowing who is accessing the personal information you have published. It might also be a good idea to think about which details you’re making public, and maybe have a quick look over this guide to getting started on Facebook — even if you’ve been there a while, there’s still some useful tips and ideas!

How to Spot the Web’s Top 3 Biggest Scams

Don’t be fooled by these internet scams that can steal your money, data, and even your identity

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and it’s forced the current generation of scammers to get just a little more creative when they’re trying to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash or valuable personal information. As people continue to move away from email, these criminals have shifted their focus to social networking services. Twitter, Facebook, and other online communities are plagued with spam bots and other nasties ranging from annoying to downright dangerous. We’ve rounded up the worst offenders to show you how to stay safe online.

1. The Facebook flim-flam
This scam has cost well-wishing friends millions of dollars around the world and is often spread via Facebook, although it’s made the rounds on Gmail as well. This one assumes the friends in your address book care enough about you to help you out after a mugging or other catastrophe while traveling.

This trick is simple in its execution. Someone gains access to your Facebook account (possibly through the sort of scam mentioned above) and then sends messages to everybody in your friends list. The message is a variation on a simple theme: “Help! I’ve been mugged in London! They took all my passport and all of my money!”

The sting comes when the scammer asks one of your friends if they could possibly spare a few hundred bucks to fund your emergency passport application, help with accommodations, purchase return airfare or food, or handle other things necessary for survival. Rather than using a bank transfer or other secure method, the scammer offers some excuse why the money would be better sent by Western Union or another untraceable method.

If you’re on the receiving end of a plea for help like this, try another way of getting in touch with your friend. Call his cell phone, send an email, or text him. Even contact his friends or family to find out if he really is in trouble in London. If he’s home, safe and sound, suggest that he contact Facebook to reclaim his hacked account and change the passwords on other online services.

Scams aren’t always this obvious

2. The Twitter trap
One particularly new scam that has swarmed Twitterjust last month preys on humanity’s innate desire to know more about themselves. Sent as a direct message from someone you follow, it seems innocent enough: “Someone said this real bad thing about you in a blog…” The message arrives with a link attached, presumably to the offensive content.

At first glance, this is a friend or colleague looking out for you, bringing something unpleasant to your attention so you can deal with it accordingly. In reality, though, it’s a program that will hijack your Twitter account, post to your stream, and send the same Direct Message to your followers. The link won’t take you to a blog post (ego-crushing or otherwise) but instead goes to an online survey or page full of advertising designed to earn money for the scammers at a few cents per click.

While many scams and hoaxes are obvious, it can be difficult to resist finding out if that’s really you getting bad mouthed on the internet. Really though, ignoring and deleting them is the only way to treat messages like this. If you’re feeling friendly, contact the friend whose account sent the message to let them know their account’s been hijacked; they should delete all of the compromised messages and change their online passwords.

3. The reverse Nigerian Prince
We’re all familiar with the Nigerian Prince scam that’s spammed our email in boxes. In the scam, an emotional plea from Western Africa promises you gold and riches if you’ll just help out with a little money first. Even though this is one of the most played-out email swindles in the history of the internet, it’s still going on today. Now, however, a new variation has popped up.

An email arrives supposedly from Citibank Nigeria offering to help victims of the Nigerian Prince scam. Those responding with their full name and address are “eligible” for $50,000 in compensation. It won’t take long for “Citibank” to reply, explaining that their names cannot be found in the database after a cursory search. There’s still hope, however, by sending in a nominal fee ($50? $100? $500?), which will of course be refunded in full once their name has been found and the payment process started.

A closer look at the email reveals that it is hosted on a domain ending in .cn, which the email goes to great lengths to point out stands for Citibank Nigeria. Unfortunately, that’s not true. The .cn extension actually indicates that the domain is based out of China — a fair distance away from Africa, wouldn’t you say? Adding insult to injury, the addresses included in this email are sent from 9.cn, which is a Chinese version of Windows Live Mail; yes, the scammers are again using a free web mail provider.

The Nigerian government does not keep track of everybody who is tricked into sending money via the scam bearing the name of its country (many “Nigerian” scams come from all over the world, including the United States and Europe). There is no fund chock-full of compensation. While Citibank does have a branch in Nigeria, the company is not involved in getting you any money back and does not have email addresses ending in the .cn extension.

If this one pops up in your email, have a laugh over the latest spin on this age-old scam and its feeble attempt to hook you in, and then hit delete. It’s safest.

As the internet offers us new and interesting ways to connect, there will always be scammers trying to use those services to swindle you. But a little common sense goes a long way no matter what form the scam takes. Messages offering easy money, a plea for help, or any kind of emotional response from you need to be ignored. If you feel compelled to look further, make sure you verify the source to make sure it’s not coming from a friend’s account that has been hijacked.

This article was written by Jessica Citizen and originally appeared on Tecca

Scammers

If someone  calls from the Windows Service Center and tells you that your computer sent in an error report, and they want to help you with it, they are SCAMMERS.  They will try to sell you bogus software to fix your nonexistent problem. Once you have given them your credit card information to pay for their software, they have you. They will download bogus software you “bought” onto your computer possibly infecting it with real malware. Tell them you are about to leave or you have company and that you will call them back. Get their phone number and turn it into the police. This group is based in India but the phone numbers look like New York.