Most of us reach out to each other through the various social forums such as FaceBook or MySpace. This has been a wonderful way to reconnect with people or to keep each other posted about life’s events.
If you currently engage in social networking, be cautious and screen what kinds of messages your friends are sending you – especially if you happen to receive a message requesting your immediate financial assistance. The other day, I read a story where a lady became victim of such a messaging scam. What happened to this poor lady is that she received messages from one of her friends asking for money. Being the good friend that she is, she ended up wiring a large amount of money to what she thought was her friend’s account. Little did she know that the messages she had received were fake.
This is another tactic that identity thieves are using to commit fraud against innocent victims via the Internet. To avoid a situation like this, here are a few things to think about if you’re setting up a FaceBook or MySpace account or may already have one. You may want to Google search your name to see if anyone is using your specific identity on a social networking site. Scammers are becoming savvier at creating other people’s identities online. Report any suspicious activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center if you happen to receive a message that is out of the ordinary from any of your friends. You may want to set your FaceBook, MySpace, and any other social networking accounts to private ensuring that only friends have access to your information.
Lesson learned: If you use social networking sites, use common sense and discretion when responding to messages. Also, be vigilant about protecting your privacy by making sure your account settings are properly set.