Joining Social Networks Can Lead to Spam- How to Protect Yourself

March 11, 2011 by: Enogg

Social Networks are a great way to reach out, get in touch with friends, build a community and launch a product or service. There are many advantages to using a social network.

The big drawback however is that unscrupulous individuals are lurking in their shallow caves awaiting an opportunity to swipe your email address. So beware.

On almost all Social Network sites, Facebook in particular, you have the opportunity to set your security levels. On Twitter and LinkedIn you have the ability to hide your contact data. Spammers use a bot to crawl sites and locate non-private data. The bots have gotten smarter and can string together contact information and guess at email addresses.

It’s unfortunate that you have to be careful since social networking is about collaborating and building a community and not about worrying whether a spammer is scalping your credentials.

Make sure you take measures inside the social networks’ admin area to safeguard your important credentials. As an additional safeguard, there are many free email services you can set-up as your alias email address. For example, provide your gmail address instead of your personal email. Keep your personal address private and only for your friends and family. And of course your business email address should only be used for business related correspondence.

When surfing the web, you may come across a site that requires an email address in order to learn more about a product or service. In these instances, use mailinator.com and set up a free - but very open, email account. At Mailinator, there is no required sign-up or registration. Your email address acts as an automatic login. This account should only be used to deter spam.

A little gesture from a youngster for Spammers...

 

Deceptive SPAM Examples

Generally there is an odd spelling error. However, some emails will look very official. Beware if you are asked to login or open an attachment. If you are unsure, contact the company via phone before opening a suspicious email.

In most cases, Facebook would never send an email like the one below. If it looks fishy, it probably is. Always beware of opening any links.

Dear user of facebook, Because of the measures taken to provide safety to our clients, your password has been changed. You can find your new password in attached document. Thanks, Your Facebook.

 

This looks very convincing, but again, Craigslist will not send such emails. Notice how “IP” is spelled. And what company puts an "!" after "customer" in the greeting?

 

Dear customer! Unfortunately we were not able to deliver your postal package sent on the 25th of January in time because the addressee's address is erroneous. Please print out the invoice copy attached and collect the package at our department.   United Parcel Service of America.

 

Do you suppose the Unites Parcel Service of America takes the time to write an email? And indecently, how did they get your email address?

 

craigslist craigslist: Account Log In We recently noticed an attempt to log in to your Craigslist account from a foreign Ip address and we have reason to believe that your account was used by third party without your authorization. If you recently accessed your account while traveling, the unusual log in attempts may have been initiated by you. Therefore, if you are the rightful account holder, click on the link below to log into your account for verification. <LINK DELETED FOR YOUR SAFETY> if you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choice but to temporarily suspend your account. If you received this notice and you are not authorizes account holder, please be aware that it is in violation of Craigslist policy to represent oneself as another Craigslist user. Such action may also be in violation of local, rational, and/or international law. Craigslist is committed to assist law enforcement with any inquires related to attempts to misappropriate personal information with the intent to commit fraud or theft. Information will be provided at the request of law enforcement agencies to ensure that impersonators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law Thank you for your patience as we work together to protect your account Sincerely, Craigslist Account Review Department

Oups, I don’t use Comcast! More spelling errors. The original even used the Comcast logo.

Comcast: Account Log In   We recently noticed an attempt to log in to your Comcast account from a foreign Ip
address and we have reason to believe that your account was used by third party
without your authorization. If you recently accessed your account while traveling, the unusual log in attempts
may have been initiated by you. Therefore, if you are the rightful account holder,
click on the link below to log into your account for verification. <LINK HAS BEEN DELETED FOR YOUR PROTECTION> if you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choice but to temporarily
suspend your account. If you received this notice and you are not authorizes account holder, please be
aware that it is in violation of Comcast.net policy to represent oneself as another Comcast.net
user. Such action may also be in violation of local, rational, and/or international law.
Comcast.net is committed to assist law enforcement with any inquires related to attempts
to misappropriate personal information with the intent to commit fraud or theft.
Information will be provided at the request of law enforcement agencies to ensure that
impersonators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law Thank you for your patience as we work together to protect your account

It’s unfortunate that spammers send unsolicited emails pimping Social Network sites. It’s similar to receiving unsolicited mail. Everyone detests junk mail through the US Postal services and it surely wastes valuable resources.

For now, the best alternatives are to recycle the paper from junk US Postal mailers and delete spam in your inbox. Set up your email filters moving the SPAM to your junk folder.  Use Mailinator.com for a complete anti spam address and gmail (or other free services) for your social networking email address.

From The Desk of EnoggEggbert

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