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  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Idaho, social media,   

    Scary scammer targets 10-year-old on TikTok 

    Scary scammer targets 10-year-old on TikTok

    Children love social media. If they’re not messaging their friends they’re either interacting with celebrities and personalities or even creating their own content. One of the most popular social media apps among children is TikTok. It allows its users to create short videos or they can follow and watch the videos of other creators. As with most social media, users can interact with each other through comments and messages. If these interactions are not monitored it could lead to inappropriate contact and other potentially dangerous situations.

    A 10-year-old girl from Idaho was on TikTok and was recently contacted by a stranger through the app. The person who contacted her said they were looking for a ‘sugar baby’ that they could spoil with gifts and money. While this sounds like the actions of an online predator’s attempt to groom a child, this interaction took a different turn. The person who approached the girl said that in order to ‘spoil’ the girl they would need her parents’ ATM and bank card information. Thankfully, the girl was smart enough to tell her parents about the messages who in turn called local police. However, the alleged scammer could be from anywhere and no apprehension has been made and the suspect may never be caught.

    While most children love apps like TokTok that doesn’t mean they should be on them unattended. Most platforms including TikTok set the minimum age of users to 13 in their terms of service. Even if children meet the minimum age requirement that still shouldn’t mean they can be left on any social platform without having some form of monitoring. A good rule in helping keep children safe online is to instill a no devices after bedtime rule. If your children are using iPhones or iPads, iOS has parental controls that you can learn to use here. If your children are on Android phones and tablets parental control instructions can be found here. You can also find tips and tricks to keep your children safe online at the US Attorney’s Office website and NetSmartz.org.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media   

    Presidential candidate puts fake census ads on social media 

    Presidential candidate puts fake census ads on Facebook

    Since the US census only takes place only once a decade, it gives scammers the opportunity to find a new generation of victims. Previously we’ve discussed how census scammers may try to either steal your personal information or get you to give them money. Then it may or may not come as a surprise to you that a member of the government may be using the census to try to get you to give them money, specifically to make donations to their presidential campaign. And what if we told you that not only was this person allegedly using phony census ads to solicit campaign donations but that they have held one of the highest offices in the land.

    Facebook recently removed a series of misleading ads that claimed to be from the Official 2020 Congressional District Census. One of the main purposes of the actual US Census is to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. So by claiming to be an official Congressional district census, you can see how it could lead to confusion. not only that but the 2020 census, which starts March 12th, will be the first US Census that you can complete online which could lead to more confusion from the deceptive ads.

    If you were to click on one of these ads you would be asked a series of questions before being taken to the candidate’s campaign website where you’d be asked to make a campaign donation. Here’s a handy picture of what one of the ads looked like. We’ve edited the picture in order to remain impartial.

    While some may decry this ad as FAKE NEWS since anyone can buy a Facebook ad, a BBC investigation found that the ads were backed by the candidate’s official campaign and the candidate’s own political party.

    Those who oppose this candidate may be well within their right to say actions like this not only undermine an official government function in the census, but it also appears to severely undermine the Democratic process in America.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , social media,   

    Scam uses your own friends to trick you 

    Scam uses your own friends to trick you

    Police in South Carolina are warning residents about a scam that is using the victim’s own friends against them. In this scam, you might see a video taken by an actual friend on social media. In the video, the friend will say that they received thousands of dollars for next to nothing. The main problem with the video is that the friend hasn’t actually received any money. They were instructed by the scammer to make the video saying they got the money before they could get the money. In actuality, there’s no money to be had and you’re friend has been the victim of a scam.

    The victims in this scam are told to send a couple of hundred dollars to a phony social media account and then they could receive thousands of dollars. Before they get any money the victims are told to make a video saying that they’ve already received the money before they can the money they were promised. This, in turn, is intended to get other victims to send the scammers money by playing on the trust of their friends. However, once the money is sent to the scammer, the scammer disappears as does the money.

    Any post on social media that promises to deliver money to you for doing very little is almost guaranteed to be a scam. As the police in South Carolina said: “No one gives away free money.” If you see one of your friends posting a video like this, you may want to break the news to them that they’ve been scammed. It’s also advised that if you’ve been a victim in a scam like this to contact your local police department.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social media   

    Instagram influencer charged in get rich quick scheme 

    Instagram influencer charged in get rich quick scheme

    Social media is one of the more incredible tools of the 21st century. If used properly, it can lead creators to find an audience or help get important messages out to a community quickly. However, like most tools, social media can also be used for nefarious purposes. Social media has become the home of all sorts of cybercriminals from hackers to identity thieves. And of course, social media is a haven for all manner of con artists and scammers. Many of the scams on social media are quick hits with the scammers disappearing as quick as possible but in today’s case, it was a long con designed to swindle as many people as possible.

    People with substantial social media followings are often called influencers due to the fact they can influence their followers into action. Often they use this influence to make themselves rich. This is usually done through endorsement deals but there are also influencers who try to scam their followers with get rich quick schemes. Often, these schemes are the usual snake-oil like MLMs. In other cases, they’re highly illegal money laundering schemes designed to use their followers as money mules.

    One such case was recently broken up in New Jersey. In the Garden State, there was a social media influencer with 300,000 Instagram followers and 100,000 YouTube subscribers. She is said to have posted pictures of large amounts of cash and bank account statement on her social media telling her followers they can get rich like her. All they had to do was send her a direct message to get the secrets. The influencer was only really after the bank account information of her followers. She was allegedly part of a bigger ring that would use the bank accounts to cash stolen checks and money orders. Once they were done with that bank account, she would block that particular user. All in all, this ring was able to steal $1.5 million this way.

    While living vicariously through social media celebrities can sometimes be fun, more often than not they are not your friends. Ultimately, you’re just part of their follower number which they use to try to increase their relevance and influence. Under no circumstances should ever give someone online your financial information. As always, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. There is no real way to get rich quick online.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2020, , date changing, social media   

    What’s the truth about writing out 2020 in full? 

    What's the truth about writing out 2020 in full?

    Shortly after the new year and decade began, a warning went out over social media about the year 2020. The warning was that if you make out any checks this year, do not abbreviate the year by simply using 20 as your year designation. For example, in standard American date abbreviation, today is 1/6/20. The wisdom behind this warning is that someone could use the abbreviated year format and alter it to look like another year. A bad actor could potentially turn 20 into anything from 2000 to 2021 or even beyond. Since social media isn’t always the best source for news, is this really a danger?

    Those who warn against abbreviating the year say that if a check is altered to a year in the past, it could appear as if you’ve had an ongoing debt since that time. If the check is altered to a date in the future, uncashed checks that have expired can be made active again. They also recommend that you should write the date out in full such as January 6, 2020, to prevent any kind of date tampering with legal documents. While this all can sound menacing, what are the odds of something like this happening to you?

    According to the internet investigators at Snopes.com, it’s unlikely that anything will happen if you forget to put the full date on a check or legal document. Snopes notes that there are many other forms of check alteration that are more likely to occur that are more lucrative for bad actors. Not only that but there are many ways to prove the alteration of the check took place so you could protect yourself against legal ramifications that could come from an altered check. However, it doesn’t hurt to write out the date in the full as it’s easier to do to prevent any potential problems than trying to fix them after a check has been altered.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media   

    Are the proceeds really going to charity? 

    Are the proceeds really going to charity?

    We’ve all seen the commercials on TV where if you buy a certain item a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a specific charity. Usually, those TV ads are sponsored by a major corporation whose product is a known item with a reasonable reputation. Also, the proceeds are usually going to a well-known charity that has done good across the country if not the globe. However, in these days of multiple avenues of media, it’s not just television where these ads are appearing. The problem is that some of these ads are trying to take advantage of your generosity.

    The Better Business Bureau is reporting that there are ads appearing on social media that purport to be selling an item for charity. Some of these supposed merchants will even go as far as direct messaging people and will ask them to help spread the word about the alleged charity. What really happens is that there is no charity and you won’t be receiving any item. Instead, the phony vendor is just trying to make off with your hard-earned money, or worse, trying to steal your financial information.

    If you come across one of these ads and are tempted to buy the product you should first do your research. The BBB recommends checking for reviews of the company first to see if they have any complaints filed against them. You shouldn’t be fooled by a slick-looking website either as they can be put up and dismantled in a matter of moments. You can also research the charity at Give.org which is also maintained by the BBB.

    There really is no level that online scammers won’t stoop to. If you just take a few moments to do a modicum of investigation, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these con artists.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , eavesdropping, , , social media   

    Is your phone really eavesdropping on you? 

    Is your phone really eavesdropping on you?

    Has this ever happened to you? You’re just innocently talking with your friends or family about something you normally don’t talk about. Then you see an ad on your phone for the very thing you were talking about. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there to suggest that companies like Facebook and Google are eavesdropping on your private conversations so they can serve you more targeted ads. It’s compounded by the fact that companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have admitted that human contractors listen in on conversations heard by digital assistants. However, at least one study says that the eavesdropping phone is largely a myth.

    A mobile security company called Wandera has said that they’ve conducted research which they say shows that tech companies are not listening to your conversations. They placed an iPhone and an Android phone in a chamber where pet food advertisements continuously played. Both phones were running Facebook, Instagram, Chrome, SnapChat, YouTube, and Amazon in the background. However, the researchers did not witness any related ads on the devices in question. The researchers also say that the data used by both devices indicate that conversations are not being sent to the major tech companies. That’s not to say that tech companies aren’t tracking us in other ways.

    Other things like location data and browsing histories are said to be more effective in serving us targeted ads. Also, if you use a loyalty card at any store, advertising companies buy that information from the store and can match it with your social media accounts. Supposedly, there are sett9ngs on your phone where you can limit such targeting, however, we’ve either not been able to find these settings or they’re buried so deep in the app’s settings that it makes it difficult to escape targeting.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ask.fm, Badoo, Bumble, Calculator%, , Grindr, Holla, Hot or Not, Kik, LiveMe, MeetMe, Skout, , social media, , , Whisper   

    The truth behind dangerous apps for kids 

    The truth behind dangerous apps for kids

    In Sarasota County, Florida, the local Sheriff’s Office arrested 25 men accused of approaching children through various social media apps. These arrests have spurred a number of media outlets to list the 15 most dangerous social media apps and platforms for children. These apps include Ask.fm, Badoo, Bumble, Calculator%, Grindr, Holla, Hot or Not, Kik, LiveMe, MeetMe, Skout, SnapChat, TikTok, WhatsApp, and Whisper. Is the media exaggerating the danger or are these apps really dangerous for kids? We’re about to give you the lowdown on these apps and tell you what you can do to protect your kids.

    The majority of the apps listed are dating apps. Any child under 18 has no business being in Badoo, Bumble, Grindr, Hot or Not, MeetMe, or Skout. Other apps on this list are livestreaming or video apps like Holla, TikTok, Snapchat, and LiveMe. While these apps allow users as young as 13 to register for their service, these apps should not be used unsupervised by children as predators have used them to either approach or groom children. Apps like Kik, Whisper, and WhatsApp are messaging apps which can be used like text messages. The problem with these apps is that predators like to move kids to these apps after approaching them on other apps so they can continue to communicate with them.

    While all of these apps are potentially dangerous there are, in our opinion, two apps which are extremely dangerous to children and they are Snapchat and Kik. Snapchat is the photo-sharing app where the photos are supposed to disappear after a set amount of time, however, it’s fairly easy for someone to take a screenshot of the photo being shared. Meanwhile, Kik is the messaging app that is a tool of choice among predators with one registered sex offender calling it “well known within their industry”.

    If you would prefer that your kids not use these apps there is something you can do about it. If your kids are using iPhones or iPads, iOS has parental controls that you can learn to use here. If your kids are on Android phones and tablets parental control instructions can be found here. Also, keep in mind that not all devices need a cellular data connection for predators to approach your kids. Many of these apps can be used on a wifi connection alone so keep that in mind when deciding how best to protect your children.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on July 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social media   

    This Snapchat scam can cost you thousands! 

    This social media scam targets the young!

    When you hear the term ‘influencer’ thrown around today you’re almost certain to roll your eyes. While the term may make the person claiming to be an influencer sound vapid, it can be pretty lucrative if you’re successful at it. Depending on how many followers you have on your social media platform of choice, you could have advertisers lining up at your virtual doorstep hoping that you’ll promote their product or service. Many of these influencers have been able to turn their social media presence into a successful full-time job. However, for those just starting out, there are those who will look to take advantage of you.

    Once again, the Better Business Bureau is reporting a scam targeting young would-be influencers. The scam is said to be specifically targeting users of the photo-sharing app Snapchat. The scammer will offer a Snapchat user an advertising opportunity but will ask the user to pay for this opportunity by sending the scammers gift cards. If that wasn’t a big enough scam the scammers will then ask for the user’s login information before changing the login information essentially locking the user out of their own account. Then posing as the user, they’ll invite the user’s friends and followers to the same phony advertising offer perpetuating the cycle.

    As you’ve probably figured out by now, any time someone asks you to pay for something in gift cards, it is most definitely a scam. However, the younger social media users among us may not yet be aware of the gift card scam. If you buy any type of gift card and give the card’s ID number to a third-party, they can quickly empty that card and disappear without a trace. If you see one of your friend’s or followers on social media offering one of these bogus opportunities, their account may have already been taken over by con artists.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blessings groups, emergency expenses, social media   

    Can social media help pay for emergencies? 

    Can social media help pay for emergencies?

    If you’re like many Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck you know how devastating an emergency expense can be. Before you know it bills are going unpaid in order to try to get your head above water financially. However, things start to snowball and the problem just gets bigger and bigger. Before all is said and done you could have essential utilities turned off or you could find yourself evicted from your home. If you’re in a situation like that there may now be a place you could potentially turn to help you get out of that jam.

    The Atlantic recently ran an article about groups on social media called ‘blessings groups’ that are specifically designed to help people pay for emergency situations. Rather than trying to use a platform like GoFundMe many people go to these blessings groups in order to try to get donations to help pay for such expenses as minor car repair, baby formula, or an overdue bill. If you’re in a position to do so you can also join one of these groups to donate to people having emergencies. You don’t have to donate a lot either. In most cases, donations come in as little as $5-$10 until the person in need has enough to pay for their expense.

    Even though these groups are a big help to many there are still many pitfalls as scammers are said to have run rampant through many of these groups. Not only that but sometimes these groups can become petty and political leading not only to hurt feelings but also some people receiving no donations when they’re in desperate need of them.

    So if you find yourself in need you may want to turn to one of these groups but be warned that the experience may not be a pleasant one.

     
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