A New Year’s Resolution For Facebook Users

Happy New YearIf you’re a regular user of Facebook, you’ve probably seen your fair share of scams and bogus stories on Facebook.  Perhaps you’ve even inadvertently shared and perpetuated some of them.  While many would think that “common sense” would prevail at all times, it’s easy to get tricked when a friend, family member or someone you trust shares such a post and your intentions are good.

Why not make a resolution for the new year to become a better “citizen” of the Facebook community by helping to stop the spread of these scams and rumors?  Here are 4 Facebook pages that I recommend you “like” immediately.  Most, if not all of these have searchable websites too.  So before you share that post that Disney World is giving away a free vacation for 4 people plus a Visa Gift Card worth $1,000 for spending money, or BMW is giving away a free sports car worth over $50,000, or that posting a legal disclaimer will somehow protect your privacy, please do a little homework using these sites:

  1. Facecrooks:  https://www.facebook.com/Facecrooks
  2. ThatsNonsense:  https://www.facebook.com/thatsnonsense
  3. Hoax Slayer:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hoax-Slayer/69502133435
  4. Snopes:  https://www.facebook.com/snopes

If you realize you’ve shared a post that’s bogus, the best thing you can do is delete the post from your timeline.  If the post was a give-away scam that required you to authorize a sweepstakes app, you should delete that app immediately.  If you want to be a good Facebook citizen, you can even private message your friends who might have shared the story from your timeline and encourage them to delete the post too.  Lastly, it couldn’t hurt to change your Facebook password, which you should do regularly anyway.

My best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015!

 

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Twitter Fraud Advice for the Novice

As with most social media platforms, if you use it long enough, you’ll eventually come across all sorts of hackers, spammers and scammers.  On Twitter, I sometimes wonder if there’s more fraudulent users than legitimate ones – and that doesn’t even take into account inactive members.

The fraudulent Twitter accounts I laugh at the most are the ones that promise thousands of followers a day if I simply follow them, follow their system, purchase their material outlining the secret to Twitter success, etc.  Have you seen these members or even had some follow you?  Here’s a recent example of one to follow me:

Twitter Bogus Member

An account like the one above raises so many red flags for an experienced Twitter user.  First and foremost, if your system truly can deliver 1,000 followers per day, why does your account only have 104 followers?!?  Other red flags include a lopsided following-to-followers ratio, an abysmally low Klout Score, no bio (just a sales pitch – and a bad one at that), and a plea for followers.

For those who are new to Twitter, you’ll want to watch for some of these red flags mentioned above.  I also strongly suggest you value quality over quantity when it comes to building your Twitter presence.  I’ve spent nearly four years building my Twitter account.  Followers come and go, but if you place quality over quantity with how you use and manage Twitter, you’ll trend upwards organically.

What other advice would you give to the novice Twitter user?

Hackers and Scams and Spammers, Oh My!

A few months ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about the lame attempts email spammers had made to trick me into revealing personal information and/or downloading some virus-infected software program.  They haven’t improved much.

However, a friend of mine was recently hacked and had his email accounts compromised.  The hackers sent out an email to his address book that basically said, “I’m stranded overseas, please wire me a ton of money so I can get home.”  This is a common and known scam, but if you didn’t know any better, your first instinct might be to help a friend in need and wire him some money.  Obviously, your friend wouldn’t get the money, the scammers would.

This is someone who is very well-respected in the industry.  If it can happen to him, it can happen to any of us.  So what can you do?  The experts will tell you to avoid these common passwords, change your passwords often, have different passwords for different sites, use a mix of upper case and lower case as well as numbers and special characters, and the longer the password the better.  If you have an easy to remember password, why not tack-on just 2 more characters to strengthen it?

Scams are sometimes easy to spot but sometimes they’re very convincing.  Generally, if it’s too good to be true, it is.  Do yourself a favor and look at this visual post about a recent Starbucks scam on Pinterest.  Besides looking professional, the scammers programmed the site effectively enough to fool most.  It’s quite impressive.

It’s easy to forget that social media can be just as dangerous as websites when it comes to scams.  Perhaps, social media is even more dangerous because people tend to let their guard down when they’re interacting with friends, family & co-workers.  That should be repeated:  scams exist in social media and are perhaps easier to fall for than those you’d find on websites.

So before you inadvertently share false information (or worse, a scam) with someone you care about, do a little homework.  Here are 7 sites you can bookmark for future searches (plus there’s always Google):

  1. Urban Legends:  http://urbanlegends.about.com/
  2. Museum of Hoaxes:  http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/
  3. Snopes:  http://www.snopes.com/
  4. Hoax Slayer:  http://www.hoax-slayer.com/
  5. Facecrooks:  http://facecrooks.com/
  6. That’s Nonsense:  http://www.thatsnonsense.com
  7. Hoax Busters:  http://www.hoaxbusters.org/

So here’s your chance to make social media a better place for you and those you care about.  Bookmark the above sites.  Some even have social media accounts you can follow on Facebook and/or Twitter.  The next time you see something that’s suspicious and/or too good to be true, take 3-5 minutes to do a little research before you circulate it to your online network.