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User's Guide to Internet Ripoffs

June 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 107

We've all seen (or heard) the classic internet scam: "You've won! Click here to receive your $1000 prize!"

Luckily, most of us have come to terms with the fact that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Gone are the days of online pop-ups filled with dollar signs and smiley faces. Today we face a new type of online scamming that has found its way into a worldwide, highly-progressive trend: social media.

According to the Los Angeles Times, scammers have weaseled their way into Facebook like never before. They gather detailed information about a specific person via Facebook, and pose as a "relative in distress" in need of immediate money. Because the scammers so accurately describe details of the target's lives, it is not uncommon that people fall into this trap. Facebook scammers also resort to fake contests from trusted brands that require the user to enter personal information before receiving the discount or prize. Toms Shoes, for example, was the target of a recent Facebook scam advertising free shoes to those who "liked" and shared the post. The users were also required to fill out a survey, which asked for personal information such as address and telephone number.

Unfortunately, Facebook isn't the only victim. Other social networking communities such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram have become infiltrated with scammers. But equally, if not more prevalent than social media scams, are online shopping ripoffs. Craigslist, Amazon and eBay customers must be careful when ordering online. There have been instances when the seller requests that the consumer wire them money before they send the product because they happen to be visiting another country. There are also scammers that send e-mails requesting a renewal of the user's membership, complete with address and credit card information.

Don't let the risk of scams and ripoffs keep you from using your favorite websites. Instead, take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

Protection on Facebook and other social networking sites:

• Your mother told you not to talk to strangers, and the same rule applies on Facebook. Don't accept friend requests from people you don't know. Facebook is a scammers dream because it offers very personal information without the hassle of creating a false advertisement or survey.• Look into giveaways. There are plenty of legitimate giveaways and contests held through companies on Facebook and Twitter. However, a post from a friend does not guarantee a trustworthy source. Check out the company's website or Facebook page. If there is no information in relation to the giveaway, it's a good sign of a scam.• Only log in on the official log in page of the social network. Scammers are infamous for "phishing," or masquerading as a trusted website. If a random Twitter log in pops up on your screen, enter the correct URL and log in from the official page.

Protection from online ripoffs:

• Know the product you're looking to buy. If someone is selling a 2012 Mustang for $5,000, it is likely a scam.• Be wary of those who claim that money wires are the only payment they'll accept. It's usually more than a coincidence that a seller is "temporarily" out of the country.• Check the seller ratings (e-Bay and Amazon). These websites offer ratings and comments for each seller. If the ratings and comments are positive, the seller is probably legitimate.

It is unfortunate that some of our favorite websites have fallen victim to scammers, but taking the necessary precautions will keep your social networking and online shopping sites safe and ripoff-free.

Source: EzineArticles
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