Here’s a true cautionary tale: a computer service business owner recently received a text from what he thought was a Facebook friend. Turns out that the source of the text was an unknown scammer who only masqueraded as his Facebook™ friend; that is, he created a Facebook page that borrowed/copied photos, etc. from the real person, then proceeded to attempt a small scam. The business owner, though, canny cyber person that he was, telephoned the real friend just to check and, of course, was informed that there was nothing to this, stopping the scam before it was painful. The impostor Facebook friend used essentially a “spam account” (a fake account).
So, “eschewing accounts on popular social media platforms … can have consequences, mainly because most people have enough information about themselves online that anyone can create an account in their name and start messaging friends and family members with various fraud schemes.” Mark your territory before scammers do it for their benefit – this includes popular social media apps, government agencies and shopping sites.
More broadly, there is a general concern regarding online harassment. A study from Pew Research reports that 73 percent of adult Internet users say they’ve witnessed someone harassed online, and 40 percent have experienced that harassment personally.
This leads to the conclusion that everything you post on social media has the potential to become public and misused. Further, such is the essence of the Internet: little can be taken back once it’s posted. We also know that it’s very easy for people to take comments out of context – whether offline or online. So reflect before you post. Consider your online presence from the perspective of family, friends and colleagues (business, volunteerism, etc.).
Even our involuntary “posts” can be a source of concern today. As reported in the NY Times, “most of us are not aware that platforms like Google and Facebook may track and analyze our every search, location, like, video, photo, post and punctuation mark the better to try to sway us.”
FOR FURTHER READING:
CyberGuardian: a SecureTheVillage Guide for Residents is available on Amazon.
A complete Security Checklist is available: https://www.nerdsiview.com/security-checklist-2/
References for Village Residents are available at SECURE THE VILLAGE: https://securethevillage.org/residents