Companies collect all sorts of data to build a database of you from social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, website forums, blogs and other websites. How do they use all this info on you? For example, did you know that your Facebook friends could influence what kind of credit you get from a finance company? Your “Credit Report” is not affected at all, but companies are looking at your friends’ credit history to help them in making a decision about you… remember what they say: Birds of a feather flock together!
Spammers and Fraudsters are gaining your trust by pretending to be genuine friends, followers and buddies in social networks, just so that they can get their tricks to work. For example, they make friends with 100 people on Facebook, then sends each of them a picture through their own E-mail addresses. All 100 users get an E-mail which comes from someone they think that they know, so they open the picture and maybe LOL. What they do not know is that a malicious software (or Malware for short) has entered their computer while they have been laughing out loud to that funny picture! The user switches off the PC and goes about their daily business. The next time the computer starts up, all 100 users are greeted by a frightening notice from that malicious software saying that they have thousands of viruses and the only way to remove them is to…wait for it…yep, that’s right, to buy the “full version” at only £10. This malicious software does not give the users any option at all and if they try to ignore it and continue using their computer, they realise that a lot of the functions are blocked! They cant get to their favorite website because the malicious software blocks it with a notice to buy the “full version” ……….you do the maths: 100 users cough up £10 each…. Its no wonder that spam E-mail accounts for over 80% of all emails sent daily in the world!!!
Your data can be collected by software programs and then sold to companies that want to know all about you and what you do online. This is called “data mining” and is carried out by companies like Rapleaf.com. They present your comments and other data as a form of behavioral pattern that other interested companies can purchase and use however they want.
You need to be aware of what you are posting online and to whom you are connected to. Many online users have no idea that a comment they posted on a website is being collected into a database to be used in some unknown way. Users do not know what all those hundreds of “Friends” and thousands of “Followers” are doing with their data…they forget that permission has been granted to access and use their data in any way.
The moral of this post is to practice caution online… Do not be complacent just because you are alone and no one can see you when you are busy typing LOL (…while in reality you are just smilling quietly to yourself!!!). Social networks are very convenient and fun too, but make sure it doesn’t turn into a nightmare with these Best Practices:
Excuse me, while I go post this on FB [:-)