Beware of these Facebook and Twitter Scams

Along with the popularity of Facebook and Twitter come hackers and scammers that lurk on these sites with sophisticated ploys to get your identity or your money.

We’ve heard about Internet users becoming victims of malware and phishing attacks, which are bad enough, but the following Twitter and Facebook scams show that one must be very, very careful when using any social networking sites.

For instance, there is the “Tweet for Cash!” scam. You might see a message that says, “Make money on Twitter” and “Tweet for Profit”. These scams claim that people can work from home and make large sums of money (up to $5,000 or $10,000 per month) simply by ‘tweeting.’ This is an old, worn out e-mail scam that has moved to Twitter. In today’s cash strapped economy, this sounds enticing to some, but it is just another one of those “too good to be true” come-ons. Some folks who have signed up for “Tweet for Cash” have given their credit card number to pay the $1.95 shipping fee for a “Twitter Starter Kit” and then realized that their credit card was being charged a monthly fee because the starter kit was only a seven-day trial “offer” with monthly fees to keep using it.

Another scam is sent around in the form of a Tweet message that contains an image with text imbedded in the image saying “Ur cute. Msg me on MSN”. Or maybe it is an image of a sexy lady with the invitation to “chat” with her. Images are a way to get around the filters that Twitter and Facebook have in place to capture many of these social networking schemes. These types of image messages lead a person to an adult site where the victim is asked for a credit card number and then a computer robot, pretending to a be a human conducting a flirtatious conversation, fools you into thinking you are a wonderful person, when in reality you’re prompted for information that is then used for identity theft purposes.

Yet another scam takes advantage of the biggest headlines of the day such as the wide-spread concern over swine flu or who dissed Obama today. The scammer may send a Tweet about a recent death from swine flu or a story about some uprising or unrest that directs people to click on links that lead to bad sites. This type of scam might also use a celebrity death to tempt you into going to a black-listed site where you become infected with malware and viruses.

Also note that Twitterers often use shortened and misspelled words or initials in order to get around the 140-character limit of each Tweet. Some spammers use shortened URLs, where you don’t REALLY know WHAT website you’re being taken to, but it might be a malicious one if you’re not careful.

On Facebook, one of the most popular activities is reading “friend’s” comments. Watch out for phishing scams where Facebook applications might have names such as “Your Photos” and “Post” and begin with a notification that someone has “commented on your post.” However, if you click on that notification, you might be taken to a harvesting site called “” that looks just like a Facebook login page, but then it steals your login information and uses it to spam your friends. Always make sure that you are on an actual Facebook website and not on a malicious site that just LOOKS like Facebook (look at the URL in the browser address to be sure).

Be wary of those “Amber Alerts”. Sad, but true, there are many hoaxes out there that claim to be from someone sending around an “Amber Alert” concerning a three-year-old girl or some other child taken by a man driving a silver vehicle, blah, blah, blah. Details vary, and some even include names of the child. Please check these out with or or These amber alert tweets or notifications might not steal identity or give you malicious software, but if you send these around to all and sundry, and they’re not true, you are helping to desensitize others to the severity of a REAL alert.

The hackers and social networking crooks are out there with their get-rich-quick tricks and their malicious websites and identity theft scams—they’re getting sophisticated and they want your information, so be careful.

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