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  • Geebo 8:12 am on March 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Messenger, ,   

    New twist on old scam comes to private messaging 

    By Greg Collier

    Most of us have a friend or loved one who we constantly communicate with online. Many of us like to share jokes and memes with that person that we think they’ll find humorous. Now, what if that person sent you a private message that said ‘Look what I found’ along with a laughing emoji and a link? Many of us could be forgiven for clicking on that link since it supposedly came from a trusted friend. However, if the link is clicked, you could end up losing one of your most valuable online accounts.

    For many, the majority of their online presence is on Facebook. It’s where their friends are, it’s where they get their news, and it’s how they communicate with others. In internet terms, this is known as a walled garden. AOL was famous for being a walled garden back in the internet’s early days. In essence, the more a platform can keep their users engaged, the more profitable it becomes. One of the problems with walled gardens is users can be too trusting of other users on the platform, which inevitably leads to scammers.

    Currently, tech experts are warning about a scam that’s taking place on Facebook Messenger. Users are receiving messages from close friends that say ‘Look what I found’ along with a laughing emoji and a link. The person who appears to have sent the message have had their Facebook account compromised. If the message’s recipient clicks on the link, it takes them to a website that looks like Facebook and asks for your Facebook login. If a user enters their information, their account will become compromised as well. Our Facebook accounts hold a lot of personal information about us. Some accounts even have financial information saved within them. In numerous instances, it’s enough to have your identity stolen.

    This is not a new scam. In the past, the message would read ‘Is this you?’ and also include a link that would attempt to hijack your account.

    If you get a message like this, even from someone close to you, message them on a different platform to ask them if they meant to send that message. If a friend tells you that you sent a message like that, immediately change your password.

     
  • Geebo 9:06 am on February 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , , , ,   

    What was the biggest social media scam of 2021? 

    What was the biggest social media scam of 2021?

    By Greg Collier

    On its surface, social media is a remarkable tool. When social media first took off, it let us get in touch with friends and family who we may not have seen for years. It’s let us stay in contact with those friends and family. Now it’s advanced to the point where it has become a daily part of our lives where we get news, find jobs, and conduct commerce among its many other uses. But like any tool designed to bring us closer together, it can also be used for nefarious purposes. This not exclusive to just social media. Back in the days of landline phones, they were great until the advent of telemarketing. However, social media is now going through its telemarketing-like phase when it comes to scammers.

    If you’ve been using social media for a while, the odds are you’ve come across a scam and may not have even known it. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans lost a combined $770 million to social media scammers, and those are only the scams that were reported. The biggest money loser for social media scam victims were investment scams. However, the largest number of scams on social media involved online shopping. This mostly entailed people ordering through ads they saw on social media and never received their item. Most of those who reported an online shopping loss said that the ads were mostly on Facebook or Instagram. Just because someone can buy an ad on these platforms in no way guarantees they are a legitimate business.

    Anytime, you’re about to make an online purchase from a retailer or vendor you’ve never heard of before, do your research to make sure they’re not going to scam you. You can do what’s known as a whois search to make sure the website is not being run from overseas. Also check their contact information. If you can only contact them through email, it could be a scam. You can also do a web search with the name of the retailer along with the phrases complaints or scam. Lastly, you can always check with the Better Business Bureau website to see if the BBB has received any complaints about the business.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, , ,   

    Grant money scam returns to social media 

    Grant money scam returns to social media

    By Greg Collier

    When we say the government grant scam has returned to social media, it really never left. However, we’ve seen a number of reports about the scam this week. The way the scam typically works is you’ll receive a message on social media from a friend, telling you they received substantial grant money from the government, and you can too. In reality, your friend’s social media account has been hacked and is being used by scammers. In what’s known as the advance fee scam, the scammers will try to get you to pay fictitious taxes or a processing fee to get the phony grant. This can end up costing a victim of this scam thousands of dollars.

    For example, a woman in Nebraska recently fell victim to this scam. She had received a message from a relative on Facebook. The message said she could receive $100,000 in grant money. She thought the grant was some form of pandemic financial assistance. She ended up paying $5,000 to the scammers in prepaid debit cards. Not only was she dealt a financial loss, but scammers may have stolen her identity as well. The scammers had asked her for a copy of her driver’s license as part of the phony application process. With that kind of information, identity thieves can open any number of financial accounts in the victim’s name.

    The way you can tell this is a scam is that the government doesn’t ask for money when approving an actual grant. And if the government did ask for money, they wouldn’t ask for it in prepaid debit cards or gift cards. If you receive one of these messages on social media, do not respond to it. Instead, use another method of communication to let your friend or relative know that their account may have been compromised. Since this scam often targets elderly victims, you may want to inform any older relatives you might have if they are active on social media.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , ProPublica, ,   

    Facebook marketplace is deadly 

    Facebook marketplace is deadly

    By Greg Collier

    Craigslist used to be the poster child for dangerous marketplace platforms. It was a reputation they earned through their unmoderated ad listings which led to countless scams, human trafficking, and a number of high-profile murders. However, within five years of launching, Facebook Marketplace has become the supposed industry leader. The reason Facebook Marketplace became so successful so fast is that Facebook already had a built-in audience of one billion users worldwide and for many of Facebook’s users, Facebook is their internet. And since Facebook doesn’t want their users to wander outside of Facebook’s walled garden, Facebook will implement features to try to keep users engaged. Marketplace is just one of those features.

    ProPublica is a non-profit organization that does investigative journalism. Recently, ProPublica did an extensive investigation into the problems with Facebook Marketplace. ProPublica claims in their report that Facebook Marketplace’s problems pale in comparison to the number of problems Craigslist had. They start off their report with a story about a man who was making a living selling cars on Facebook Marketplace. His Facebook account was hacked and scammers started selling cheap junk through his account. Since the account still has his name on it, he’s in fear for his life that a disgruntled customer will come looking for him. When the man tried to resolve the matter with Facebook, they just banned him from the platform with no answers given.

    But to Facebook, the fact that a Marketplace account is attached to a real person makes it safer for users. Except Facebook neglects to mention the part where just about anyone can open a Facebook account. And much like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is awash with stolen goods on their listings. Facebook says that they have precautions in place to prevent scams and stolen items from being listed but according to ProPublica who spoke with past and present Marketplace employees, Facebook only reacts to complaints and does little to prevent fraudulent listings from going live.

    While Facebook Marketplace hasn’t had the number or PR nightmare that Craigslist had, there have been a number of murders committed using Facebook Marketplace. Much like we posted about OfferUp, the majority of these murders come from armed robberies. We’ll spare you the gruesome details, but many of these murders were particularly disturbing.

    Our point is that just because Facebook may be your social network of choice, that doesn’t make Marketplace safe by any stretch of the imagination.

    The even more unfortunate part of this blog post is that a lot of our audience won’t see it, since Facebook would almost assuredly prevent it from being posted on its platform. But they can’t stop you from posting it on Facebook. So please consider sharing this post or the ProPublica article with people you know who use Facebook Marketplace.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Are hackers spending your money on Facebook? 

    Are hackers spending your money on Facebook?

    Business owners, whether they may be big or small, often take out ads on Facebook. Considering Facebook’s massive reach, placing ads on Facebook is almost considered a no-brainer. In order for businesses to place these ads, they need to enter some kind of payment information on Facebook. That can be either a credit or debit card or some kind of online payment like PayPal. You don’t even have to be a business to place a Facebook ad as anybody can purchase an ad. Now, some hacked Facebook accounts have led to these ads being purchased without the knowledge of the account’s owner.

    CNET is reporting that they’ve received reports of hacked Facebook accounts being used to purchase questionable ads. The ads are then charged to the account of whoever’s account has been compromised while the hackers get their ads served for free. The ads tend to be for some kind of scam product where the hackers are just looking to gain the financial information of more victims. You don’t even have to have a Facebook business account for this to happen. If you’ve ever entered your payment information to Facebook for whatever reason, you could be in jeopardy if your account becomes compromised.

    To better protect yourself against an attack like this is to have a secure password used specifically for your Facebook account. Never use similar passwords for different accounts. While business accounts have to keep an eye out for fraudulent charges, personal accounts can remove their payment information from Facebook. On your Facebook account, click on the settings option then scroll down to the payment information option. Once you click on that you’ll have the option to remove your payment information.

     
  • Geebo 7:42 am on July 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook, Libra coin,   

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch! 

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch!

    If you’re unfamiliar with cryptocurrency it’s essentially a form of digital currency that is not centralized through any bank or nation. Bitcoin is the most notorious of these cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin is decentralized its value has wildly fluctuated over the years. While there are those who have made a virtual fortune through trading BitCoin the cryptocurrency craze seems to be on a downswing as many competing cryptocurrencies looking to copy Bitcoin’s relative success have flooded the market. One of those cryptocurrencies is set to be launched by Facebook which they have dubbed Libra. While Libra is some time away from launching, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take advantage of speculators by fraudulently using the Libra name.

    According to reports, a wave of scammers has gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch claiming to be official sellers of Libra. Unfortunately, Facebook’s own platforms such as Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook itself are being used to perpetrate these scams. However, in Facebook’s defense, these scams have also spread to Twitter, YouTube, and the web at large with a number of websites claiming to be affiliated with Libra. Some phony outlets are even claiming to give discounts on millions of Libra coins. As you’ve probably guessed, these scams are designed to only take your money and give you nothing in return.

    Investing in cryptocurrency is like investing in any other financial market. You should only do it if you can afford to lose the money you invest as not all investments turn into profits. That’s not even taking into account that Libra seems more like a way to spend money globally rather than an investment type of cryptocurrency. So if you’re actually interested in using Libra once it launches, you’ll have to wait until 2020 before you can purchase any. No matter what someone online tries to tell you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Facebook, , minimum wage, Notre Dame Cathedral,   

    Hold off on Notre Dame donations, Facebook’s latest privacy accident, and an Amazon employee puts Bezos’ boast into perspective 

    Hold off on Notre Dame donations, Facebook's latest privacy accident, and an Amazon employee puts Bezos' boast into persepctive

    By now, we’re all familiar with the events that took place in Paris where fire ravaged the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. While multitudes across the globe were moved to the point where they were willing to dedicate money you may want to wait on doing so. The BBB of Canada is warning consumers there to beware of phony donation scams on social media and crowdfunding sites. The BBB suggests that you wait until there is an official Notre Dame rebuilding fund donation program if you’re so inclined.

    ***

    Facebook is finding itself in yet another privacy kerfuffle as they claim that they ‘unintentionally’ harvested the email contacts of about 1.5 million of its users during the past three years. When new users would sign up for a Facebook account, Facebook would ask for your email password. Anybody who gave that information to Facebook would have their entire contacts list harvested. Facebook says this practice, which has since ended, was used to “help build Facebook’s web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends.” If your contacts were harvested, Facebook will reportedly contact you.

    ***

    Last week, we posted about how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos taunted WalMart on Twitter for not paying their employees $15/hr. WalMart fired back asking when Amazon was going to pay its fair share in taxes. More recently, the news blog Splinter has received an email from an anonymous Amazon employee who works as a customer service agent. It seems that the wage increase may have come at the expense of other benefits. According to the anonymous employee, Amazon took away incentive bonuses and stock grants leaving the bottom rung of Amazon’s corporate ladder basically in the same place they were when they started.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , , ,   

    YouTube’s livestream of hate speech hearings was flooded by hate speech 

    YouTube's livestream of hate speech hearings was flooded by hate speech

    In the wake of the deadly mass shooting that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand by an alleged white nationalist, the US House Judiciary Committee held a hearing about hat speech online. If you’ll recall the gunman in the Christchurch shooting that left 50 victims dead not only livestreamed his attack on Facebook but also posted a hate-filled manifesto online. Facebook and Google were called before the committee to address what steps they were taking to combat the problem. Both Facebook and Google defended the practices they use in order to prevent online hate. However, Google, who owns YouTube, may have spoken too soon.

    The hearing was being livestreamed on YouTube and about 30 minutes into the livesstream many YouTube users were leaving racist and anti-Semitic comments in the stream’s live chat and comment section. At that point, YouTube shut down the chat and closed the comments section but by then the damage had already been done. Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, was handed a sampling of the hateful comments and read them aloud during the hearing. “This just illustrates part of the problem we’re dealing with,” Nadler said.

    Unfortunately, just because YouTube clamped down on one livestream doesn’t mean the hate speech went away. Instead, they just relocated to other livestreams of the hearing. At least one recognized hate group ran their own livestream of the hearing and even raised money for themselves through YouTube’s own platform. Because of social media, there hasn’t been a surge in hate groups like this since the days of the civil rights movement. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are over 1,000 organized hate groups in the US alone. Violence committed by some of these groups has also been on a sharp rise in the past few years as well.

    What remains to be seen is if these social media platforms can actually develop effective safeguards to screen for hate speech or will it just remain business as usual? Hate speech has been a problem since the early days of the internet and no major platform has been able to tackle it convincingly.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , ,   

    Facebook will try to ban white nationalist content 

    Facebook to ban white nationalist content

    Last September, Motherboard reported that Facebook treated white supremacy, white nationalism, and white separatism as different things. According to a leaked memo, Facebook said that white supremacist content should be deleted from the platform while white nationalist and white separatist content should be allowed as it’s not necessarily racist. As you can imagine, this created a backlash against Facebook since most rational people believe that white supremacists, nationalists, and separatists are all cut from the same cloth. If that cloth were to be literal we assume it would be in the shape of a pointy hood.

    More recently, Facebook has announced that they will now be cracking down on white separatist and white nationalist content. However, don’t expect racism to magically disappear from Facebook. According to a follow-up by Motherboard, the content has to be pretty overt in its objective to be flagged by Facebook.

    Specifically, Facebook will now ban content that includes explicit praise, support, or representation of white nationalism or separatism. Phrases such as “I am a proud white nationalist” and “Immigration is tearing this country apart; white separatism is the only answer” will now be banned, according to the company. Implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism will not be banned immediately, in part because the company said it’s harder to detect and remove.

    It’s that last part that is really going to be the problem for Facebook because if anybody knows how to spread their message in code, it’s white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Messages from these types of groups will often contain certain phrases known as ‘dog whistles’ in order to either communicate with other members or recruit new ones.

    I’m sure somebody reading this will be asking “Why is it only white separatists that are being banned?” And we’ll be more than happy to remind you that this isn’t about Facebook just as much as it really wasn’t about water fountains back in the day.

     
  • Geebo 8:05 am on March 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook, , , ,   

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes 

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes

    Here are some follow-ups to stories we have discussed in the past.

    Both New Jersey and Philadelphia have banned cashless stores from operating within their jurisdictions. Not surprisingly, the city of San Francisco is moving toward a similar ban. Previously, Amazon had lobbied against the laws in both Jersey and Philly since the allure of its Amazon Go stores are that you can walk in and out without having to deal with a cashier and the stores are cashless with all payment being taken through a smartphone app. The problem with cashless stores is that they exclude lower-income families who don’t have easy access to such things as debit and credit cards or smartphone apps. While prepaid debit cards can be purchased, the rates for these cards can often be described as predatory. It’s unclear what Amazon can use to try to push cities into going cashless as their Go Stores offer little to no opportunities for employment.

    During the horrific mass shooting that recently took place in New Zealand where a white supremacist shot and killed 50 mosque attendees, the assailant broadcast the attack over Facebook live. The attack was said to have been viewed at least 4,000 times before it was removed from Facebook. Facebook claims that it didn’t pull the video sooner because none of their users had reported it. That seems like an awfully convenient excuse considering that in the past it’s been alleged that Facebook counts on controversy to keep their users engaged which in turn results in more views for advertisers. Toward that, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald asks why Facebook can curb such videos from terrorist groups like ISIS but couldn’t stop the broadcast of this hate-monger? Again the answer seems to be because it’s not profitable for Facebook to do so.

    Lastly today, we have a follow-up about the story of Robert Kraft. As we’ve previously posted, the New England Patriots owner was caught up in a human trafficking sting in Florida where Kraft was allegedly caught using the services of a massage parlor. We also discussed how the living arrangements and the treatment of trafficked women in those parlors can be harrowing. Over this past weekend, Kraft is said to have apologized for his actions. In the apology, Kraft seems to apologize mostly to his friends and family for letting them down but not to the women he allegedly paid for services whose lives are treated like cattle by their traffickers. In essence, he’s apologizing that he got caught which again takes the spotlight away from the victims of this degrading practice.

     
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