NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, June 2011
President' Corner
by Wes Eckles, President
(click to email author)

Beware of Scams on Facebook!

In past "Tips" I have discussed how to protect your computer and your personal information from malware attacks. I have reviewed anti-malware utilities that you can install on your computer to provide protection from attacks. The bad guys have found a way to bypass these anti-malware protections. They have just gone to where millions of computer users go - FACEBOOK. This social network provides a ready made distribution method for spreading scams. These scams are hard to identify as fakes. Following are some examples.

Example 1 - Osama bin Laden death video scam: "SHOCKING NEW video of OSAMA BIN LADENS DEATH!! Exclusive BANNED VDEIO footage of Osama Bin Laden being killed!!!" is posted as an update on Facebook users' walls. Clicking on the link takes you to a page that suggests you share the link with your friends, BEFORE you can watch the video. The scammer wants to spread it further across the social network. There is the usual survey form to fill out before you can go any further. The filling of the survey is how the scammer gets rich. They get paid money every time a survey is completed. The shocking new picture and video has not been released by the government.

Example 2 - Facebook prevent spam scam: You see a message in a box saying, " Please do your part in PREVENTING SPAM by VERIFYING YOUR ACCOUNT. Click VERIFY MY ACCOUNT right next to the comment below to begin the verification process." The clickable links at the bottom of messages on your Wall usually has "Like Comment Share". The "Share" option is replaced with "==VERIFY MY ACCOUNT ==". When you click on this option a bunch of programs are executed. Instead of stopping span, messages are spread all over the world.

Example 3 - Free Subway sandwich gift card: It looks like it is from Subway. The gift card illustration uses their Logo. The offer is for a $100 gift card for the Subway sandwich chain. The catch is that the message is from a third party company, "FreeGiftCardSon.us". Most people do not read the fine print at the bottom of the "Get Free Subway!" illustration. The fine print outlines what you must do to receive the "Gift". Of course there are the usual questions to answer. Finally, you are asked for your email address and you are instructed to post the message on your Facebook page in order to qualify for the free $100 gift card. You have just spread this scam to all of your Facebook friends! The scam continues to ask for more personal information and to require you to respond to multiple "sponsor offers" before they will consider sending you a gift card. Stay clear of these offers.

Tip - You may have received an email, that had been forwarded umteen times, stating that all cell phone numbers are going to be public and released to telemarketing companies. Instructions are given to prevent calls from telemarketer by blocking through the National Do Not Call program. This is a myth. It is not true. Just search Google for "cell phone numbers go public".

For your information - At our May meeting a question was asked, "Could the Club offer training for basic knowledge on using a PC?" The answer was no, because the Club does not have facilities with computers to offer such training. Here is a tip to those wanting basic training. Courses are offered at a number of places:

Introduction to Computers, Level 1, for senior adults 55 and older at NW Technical Institute, 709 S. Old Missouri Road, Room 323 in Springdale. Cost is $10. Register at http://WWW.NWTI.EDU or 479-751-8824.

"Help! How Do I Turn This Thing On?" beginning adult computer class at Rogers Public Library, South Dixieland Rd., Rogers. Free. Reservations required at 621-1152 Ext. 15 or at http://WWW.LIBRARY.RPL.LIB.AR.US

There may be more. I suggest that you call a library near you.

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