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Social media sites provide an easy way to stay connected with family, friends, businesses and other groups. It seems like almost everyone now has an online presence, from your brother, to your best friend, to your favorite show or band, even City National Bank.
Criminals gather personal information from social networking sites to use a technique known as social engineering to perform fraud. Using information gathered from social networking sites, and possibly other sources, the criminal contacts your bank to gain access to your account. They can gain access to personal information from your profile, such as names, birthdays, phone numbers and other information that may be the answers to challenge questions for identifying you.
Clickjacking is a technique where you receive a message or post instructing you to copy and paste text into your browser to see something enticing such as a too-good-to-be true offer or secret photos or video. This installs a virus on your PC which can lead to fraud and identity theft. If you click on a link to a video that does not play, and asks you to upgrade your player, do not click the update. This is a routine strategy for installation of the Koobface worm virus. If you think your player needs to be updated, update it directly from the company website (i.e., Adobe.com).
Be careful of the apps that you "allow." There are many malicious applications out there that lead to clickjacking, malware installation, phishing and spamming from your account. Always type the social networking site's web address into your browser, rather than clicking on a link from an e-mail. The e-mail may take you to a phishing site to steal your credentials.
Some "friends" are created only to collect personal information from profiles or to spread spam, so be careful who you "friend." It may seem great to have many friends on a social site, but consider what you share and determine who's really a friend or not.
Be cautious when clicking on links to take quizzes, especially ones that ask for your phone number. If it asks for your phone number, close the browser without entering it. Criminals can use the number to place charges to your account.
Do not respond to requests to send money to someone, even a friend or relative. Many times, your friend or relative has had their account compromised and it is spam trying to get you to send money to criminals. If you are concerned that your friend or relative is really stuck overseas or in jail, contact them or their friends and family to verify any legitimacy.
Always question what you are reading. Does it sound credible or plausible? Does the post sound like something your friend would post? When in doubt, contact them directly and ask before clicking.