We let them in: The login scams

I've known about the various scams that exist within the internet and telecommunications realm for years.

You have the ransom scam, where you receive an email stating that they have some photographic evidence of you doing something dodgy and they want to be paid in bitcoin.

There are the phone scammers, who pretend that they are Microsoft or some other company, and want remote access to your computer. These scams are also known as malware scams. (I'll come back to malware scams in a future post, because unfortunately a friend of mine fell prey to this scam in 2021, and it cost her dearly.)

But you also get the txt/email login scams where you receive a txt message (or email... or some other notice) saying that there are some unusual transactions on your account, asking that you click the link to verify. (My own husband fell prey to one of these a few months ago.)

All of these scams are fishing for the person who is trusting and doesn't know any differently. We want to believe the best in people, and the scammers are out there to take advantage of that. And it seems like technology has given con artists new ways to be inventive with their scamming. And the scammers are smart.

Today, I want to discuss the login scams, mainly because it was this type of scam that my husband fell prey to a few months ago. It could have been easily avoided if he had been paying attention—which he wasn't—but there are other steps that you can take to protect your systems even if you are duped by the login scams.

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Facebook has changed in a BIG way… Update your security settings!

Are you a Facebook users? Because if you are, you have likely noticed a significant number of changes to the platform during recent months. The user interface has had a massive overhaul. The way you interact in groups has changed, with tagging of posts and "featured" posts now available. Facebook has become heavily intertwined with other social media sites, like Instagram (both platforms owned by Meta). Public pages are now being treated as though they were profiles of their own. And the list goes on.

All of these changes are things that you can see; they're on the surface. But it's the stuff that's under the hood that can open up our accounts to external attacks if we're not careful.

Today, I'm going to highlight some of the security features hiding in the backend of the site (the parts that we don't often dive into) and show you some of the things that you might want to do to protect your accounts.

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Guilty

Should Social Media be an Adult-Only Zone?

Every so often, I encounter another teenage nightmare unfolding on the internet. It starts out innocent, but as the social media machine takes over, it's an avalanche that threatens to bury everyone alive. And I sit on the sidelines, watching all the chaos as society spirals down into another hate-fest.

For years, I've been obsessed with how social media has taken such a hold of our everyday lives. The writer in me is watching every worst-case scenario play out within the digital world, and I keep asking how it could get worse. (Because as any writer can tell you, it can always get worse.)

In the beginning, social media was a brilliant concept. It was a place where people could connect with each other and form working relationships with people who were on the other side of the planet. But as its popularity grew and more people flocked to various platforms, the social dynamics changed. In some cases, the interactions descended into a toxic cesspit needing a HazMat suit with breathing apparatus to even enter. At which point, another platform would seem to spring forth with the promise of a safe-and-inclusive environment.

Regardless of what social media has become, social media and the internet form a huge part of the world we now live in. My children have never known a life where the internet didn't exist—and my oldest is now in his 20s.

Two decades. So much of our world has changed in those two decades.

So, when I see the teenage nightmares unfolding on social media, it's not surprising to me that there is an outcry of people wanting to make social media an adult-only zone. I can understand where the viewpoints are coming from that want to classify social media usage in the same way we do alcohol and driving. But as the number of these negative events grow—sometimes, resulting in the death of yet another teen—there is only one thought that goes through my mind:

Where are the parents teaching their children how to socially behave on the internet?

If you're willing to stick around, I'll do the best I can to explain why I feel that the deplorable nature of social media is actually the responsibility of parents and how I went about teaching my children to cope with the social media cesspit.

It's an interesting tale, involving Scouts, my children, my writing, and my obsession with social media and online behavior.

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How wide spread is your email address?

There is no question about it, internet scammers are morons.

On a frequent enough basis to be noticed, I get an email from some scammer trying to get me to click a link, send them money, or send them bitcoin—or anything else that they want me to do. And 9 times out of 10, they are badly worded, trying to sound official, but really have no clue about how English grammar actually works.

And they expect "me" to fall for the scam?

I will grant you that I'm not your typical internet user. I know better. And I know the tricks of the game that your average internet user doesn't know.

But seriously, dudes, you could at least learn how to use MS Word's grammar checker. I know it's not the best, but at least it would deal with the lack of capitalizations in your emails.

While I can spot the scammer a mile away, there will be many unsuspecting people out there who will be gullible enough to fall for the scam. It may be only one in 10,000 people, but it's statistically significant enough for the scammers to keep doing it.

And a scammer's favorite playground is email. Far too many people get emails and blindly click on the links without understanding what they're clicking on.

Of course, the first question that people ask is how did the scammer get your email in the first place. Well, let me tell you exactly how they got it.

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We Let the Strangers In: The Hunting Trolls

Anyone who has ever worked on social media will know what the troll behavior is like. The trolls are the people who seem to take pleasure out of creating animosity and hatred. They will say things to provoke a reaction. And when they catch someone in their sights, they decide it's time to play.

The best advice that anyone can be given when it comes to dealing with trolls is to just ignore them. Most of the time, if you don't entertain them, they will give up and move on.

But there is a rare breed of troll who develops a vendetta—and no amount of ignoring them will make them go away. The trolls see something in you that makes them think that you're vulnerable and they attack. And they keep attacking until you finally break down.

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