SPAMMERS, SCAMMERS AND CATFISH OH MY

Cyberworld Safety and Informative Tips- Bree Palacios

It seems that this topic has been increasingly trending on Facebook and Instagram. Actually, has been going on a lot longer, even before the days of Myspace, and AIM chat (RIP). Those good ol’ spam chain emails, scam lottery wins, and the typical Catfish trying to swoon anyone that falls victim to their sweet talking.

If you are a user of social media platforms, or emails. HECK, if you just surfing the internet, please EDUCATE yourself on internet/cyber safety!

Catfish


Catfish (according to UrbanDictionary): The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time). Have you received a friend request from someone you haven't met, nor have any mutual friends or friends at all? If you are on dating apps, do you get notifications from someone who almost looks too good to be true? You then engage in the conversation, and they begin sweet talking you, saying that you have a pretty name, tell you some more “too good to be true” details about themselves, including a job that pays way to well, they work somewhere important but can’t tell you where, and so on. Catfish can also occur non-romantically as a way of stalking your profiles, stealing your images to use against another victim.


Here are signs on how to spot a Catfish:


1. Question avoidance

2. Few images, or “too good to be true” images.

3. Tells you their income

4. Avoids possibility of Video chatting

5. Their social media sites don’t seem very active

6. Want to get serious too soon

7. Sometimes ask you for money

8. Do a reverse image search! Catfish often steal other’s images. Go to the Google home page and click on “images” in the top right corner. Click on the camera to search by image. From there, you can enter the link for the picture or upload the photo. Click search to find any other locations on the Internet where that image appears.

9. Another sign can be poor grammar or grammatically incorrect messages that make little to no sense.

10. If they gave you their number, call them. But hide your number first.

11. Ask if they can meet you somewhere local. DON’T EVER GIVE THEM YOUR ADDRESS. Most likely, they will come up with EXCUSE AFTER EXCUSE.

For more information on Catfishing a simple internet search will provide 84.9 million results. YouTube also has a ton of videos.

SPAM


According to the InternetSociety.org, the definition of spam is “unsolicited bulk messages, that is, messages sent to multiple recipients who did not ask for them”. There are MANY examples of spam out there. Here are some examples:

If you see Facebook posts that claim rights to our information are going to be taken away, our images will be used, etc. It is false information. SPAM! PLEASE COPY AND PASTE into your Google search bar.


1. FALSE NEWS. Something seem "too good to be true" or "to terrible to be true"? Or someone posting that a celebrity is in your town...what is your reference? Is the website legitimate? These are hoaxes! Do a quick search on the internet about the posted story. If it's not from a reputable news station, it's fake. Snopes is a good reference site to weed out hoaxes and fake news.

2. Photoshopped images….. of clouds forming into specific shapes, or things that just look way too out of the ordinary is just a way people get those quick likes, shares. Etc.

3. Repost/Forward email/Facebook chains. You WILL NOT get 7 years bad luck if you don't forward this message to 10 people in the next 5 minutes. NO a clown WILL NOT appear over your bed at night if you don't share an image on Facebook. Stop filling feeds with trash.

SCAMS


In the BusinessDirectory.com, scams are a fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual, group, or company in an attempt to obtain money or something else of value. These can come via email, any social media messenger, phone calls, and even snail mail.

1. If you receive an email, Facebook or Instagram message claiming that your images have been located at >ENTER WEBSITE LINK HERE<, DON'T CLICK IT! Links are usually used to PHISH for your personal information. Whether is passwords to your email, bank account information and more.

2. If you receive an email, Facebook or Instagram message claiming that you have won a large lump sum of cash, FALSE. Don't EVER wire money to ANYONE that you do not know.

3. SSN, Bank Account, etc. will never be requested via email/messenger. Check the sender's information.

4. False job postings on Craigslist. Sometimes on Facebook groups you will see posts telling you “15 HR WORK WK. WORK FROM HOME. $30HR RATE. NO EXP REQUIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!COMMENT ME BELOW FOR INFORMATION” If you comment me, they'll send you a link, and BAM! It’s over. If you are looking for a job, use job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter. Still be weary though. Scammers can be anywhere.

5. If anyone sends you "nudes" without request, BLOCK THEM. DON’T SEND THEM ANYTHING IN RETURN. Don't give them a minute more of your valuable time. Some have fallen pray in the past where their images were used on websites as a form of Cyberbullying.

6. If you receive a message that says "Urgent, Click here to change your password" and it does NOT come from reputable website (.gov, .edu, any national/local news stations) website, DON'T DON'T DON'T. The Federal Trade Commission suggests that you report phishing attempts to spam@uce.gov and reportphishing@apwg.org, file a complaint at FTC.gov/complaint and visit Identitytheft.gov for more information.

For all recent Scam Alerts, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.




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Use the internet to your ADVANTAGE! Before clicking on anything, GOOGLE IT, ASK JEEVES IT, WHATEVER! Use a portion of the link, research the provided Company, the persons names, or even copy and paste the verbiage and watch the results appear. The information is available at your disposal. Do your research before falling for false information. More importantly, STAY SAFE.


Examples of Spam, Scams and Catfish



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