Thursday, April 6, 2017
Avoid the Facebook Spoof
Internet frauds have, for the most part, simply adopted traditional fraudulent activities and made them pervasive and annoying. Every one of the frauds I heard about years ago has its pernicious internet counterpart. Some of the "new" frauds have innovative jargon titles, but when dissected, they are the same old fraud in a new wrapper. The term "spoofing" originally referred to imitating (something) while exaggerating its characteristic features for comic effect. The techy use of the term implies a hoax or trick.
The latest use of spoofing is to pretend to be a "friend" on Facebook and then try to involve the "mark" in a fraudulent scheme involving an investment or simple theft. The spoofer is relying on the fact that people can't remember all of their online friends and so when they get an "invitation" from someone who is already a friend, they assume that somehow the "friend" had been overlooked. From the tech standpoint, the spoof is using the framework of an existing friend or acquaintance to "fool" the mark into participating in the scam.
One solution is to carefully screen any new "friend" requests. Of course, you could just deny all friend requests but then the main issue would be why you are on Facebook at all. I have found that I get about half or so "bogus" requests. Not the fraud requests, but simply requests to be friends with someone I do not know and who lives somewhere I am not familiar with and who apparently have no other friends in the world and decided that I will be their friend. I simply ignore these until they go away.
Facebook has all its own protocols and mores. But I draw the line at "friends" who have inappropriate photos (my personal criteria) and anyone who lives in a country where I cannot imagine they have any legitimate reason to be my friend. I do not usually use Facebook to talk to anyone unless they initiate the conversation or I cannot contact them any other way. I also rarely make comments or like anything. All this is ironic because on LinkedIn.com, I am best know for my social networking skills.