Next time someone pokes you on Facebook, make sure they aren’t really trying to do you serious harm.
A recent report from the FBI shows that nearly 4,000 people have had their social networking accounts hacked since 2006. On top of this, there were 72,000 complaints last year about Internet fraud, with losses totaling more than a quarter billion dollars.
Even more worrisome is the fact that scammers operate with a 70 percent success rate on social networking sites. In other words, once a scammer sets their mouse on your name, they usually get the information they want from you.
CNN reports that a scam attack usually “starts with a friend updating his or her status or sending you a message with an innocent link or video… All you have to do is click.”
When users do click, they are often “lured to fake Web sites that tricks them into divulging personal details and passwords.” Once scammers get your information, they can hack into your online accounts and have an easier time hacking into your friends’ accounts.
But as the FBI reports, even when users don’t click, they risk giving up important personal information through their profiles. Publicizing your phone number and e-mail address can help scammers get into your various online and offline accounts, and if you include your birthday or address on your Facebook or MySpace profile, scammers can use this to help guess your password.