What’s Up With #Scammers who Prey on #SocialMedia

As many of you know, I lost my husband just over a year ago. For me and my grief, it may as well be yesterday because the excrutiating pain of missing the love of your life doesn’t go away. I thought I’d just post this reminder because it’s truly astounding that predators lurk everywhere seeking out vulnerable people.

Since my husband’s passing, and much of it spent in Covid seclusion at the worst time of one’s life, I had turned to joining some online grief groups. I felt it may be a place I can be with like-minded people and those who’ve walked the walk, those who know how painful grief is, and that they may be places of comfortable harbor for me sometimes. But sadly, the amount of men who wangle their way into these groups hoping to seek out the vulnerable, seems to be ever-growing.

Personally speaking, these groups do not help me at all, yet, I continue to pop in for some words of solace. But because I consider myself a great Facebook ‘FBI’ profiler, I always click on the pages of those stalkers who continually message or leave messages in replies to my comments. Almost all of them seem to have lonely pages with barely a post, as though they specifically joined FB to lurk and lure.

I get many requests, compliments, and sweet nothings from plenty of lunatics on FB, but these grief pages top the charts with lurkers. These places are like a magnet for loveless losers to prey. How many times on the news are we warned about scammers, yet, so many still get caught in this web. It’s up to us all to do our due diligence and check out first, who we think we are friending and allowing into our personal circles. And I might add, the people who run these delicate group pages should also be more diligent when screening applicants who join these groups. It only takes me a moment to figure out many profiles are bogus, bots or that they have ill intentions. Why can’t a moderator do the same?

I’m a moderator in four different FB groups, and every time I get a request from someone who wants to join one of my groups, I take the time to visit the applicant’s page and schmooze around to see what they post, what they do, their ‘about’ page, and decide if they fit into my group. If all the prerequisites aren’t met, I don’t admit them.

Fakebook social media
Image by ijmaki from Pixabay

It’s not hard to figure out how these lurkers find us. They join groups with vulnerable people and try to befriend them with sweet words. If you’re like me, and have all your posts on your FB page, only visible to ‘friends only’ (and you should), this is your first barrier of defense. They cannot roam on your page or see personal posts, but they can still message you, and these messages predominantly go to FB spam messages and sit there until we delete or accept if we don’t reply to their scammy comments on a post we left comment on. I think I have hundreds in mine over the years, I don’t even look anymore, other than when someone approaches me on a group page and then checking my spam messages to find them there too.

When people start leaving you messages in comments to a statement you made in a group that have no relevance to the comment you made, be suspicious. When you poured your grieving heart out in a statement and get a reply from a guy telling you how beautiful you are and asking you to please accept his friendship so he can message you privately, that’s just wrong. And just don’t allow these types of lurkers into your private space.

I may be grieving. I may be sentimental. But I’m no dummy. As many writers spend most of their waking life on the internet mingling in social media, we know well about lurkers, losers, hackers and scammers. But for the many who are not internet savvy. Pay attention to how you allow people into your digital life.

©DGKaye2022

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – February 2021 – Online Dating – Staying Safe | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Today I’m sharing my monthly article on Realms of Relationships, I write for Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog magazine. For February edition, I’m speaking about safety and vetting for online dating.

 

Welcome back to my Realms of Relationships Column at the Smorgasbord. In last month’s edition I talked about Online Communications regarding scam emails and how to beware of them. In this issue, I’m going to talk more about Online Romantic Relationships and what to look for when vetting potential mates.

 

Face to face

 

Back in the day, meeting potential love interests entailed going out and meeting people and mingling. Now this could happen anywhere, but in my heydays, going dancing at clubs two-three times a week afforded me the chance to meet many potential dates, despite my policy ‘never to go out with anyone I met in a bar or club’, and I stuck to that. But I sure had my share of romantic relationships – often with the wrong types as I lived and learned, and many of those relationships began with people I met at the workplace.

In those ancient times, like modern times, we dated and rated our suitors through the time we spent in those relationships. Sure, socially active people out in public still do meet their significant others, but with the advent of technology, many more are going to dating sites in search of someone to fill their emptiness, looking for love. And meeting a potential suitor on the internet comes with its own set of rules – because we are getting to know someone online – sight unseen, going on the information we receive from them. But what if they’re lying about who they are? How do we vet these unknown strangers we may become attracted to, to help verify if they are who they say they are?

 

online dating

 

Let’s dig in!

We’ve come a long way from the days of getting all dressed and looking our best to go out on the town, hoping to make a connection when looking for love. Sure, it still happens, but not as much as internet dating sites and social media apps are common ground now for those searching for a mate.

As a person who studies people for a hobby, I’ve learned to adjust my sails when trying to figure out the validity of online people. I can say with authority, that there are a lot of lurkers on social media who try to hit on women. I have no doubts, that there are just as many women who prey on men too. I’m speaking as a woman who gets stalked occasionally – especially on Facebook, as do quite a few of my colleagues.

I’m going to attribute my vetting experience to being an avid watcher of police procedurals for many years – part of my fascination with studying people, curious to learn what spurs their criminal tendencies.

 

First up: What to beware of:

 

Fast Eddies – This is my name for suitors that haven’t spent enough chat time getting to know each other and who go gung-ho for setting up a live meet. Just no! There’s a lot more vetting to do before you should get to that part.

 

No photo – Anyone who won’t post a photo, in my books, doesn’t have good intentions, or has something to hide. And if they do post a photo, make sure you use an app like Tineye. This app allows you to plug in any photo, whether downloaded or using copy and paste, and checks the origins of the image.

Please continue reading at Sally’s blog.

 

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – February 2021 – Online Dating – Staying Safe | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

©DGKaye2021

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P.S. Thank you WordPress for putting out my Tuesday post  on Sunday. Not.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – January 2021 – Online Connections– #Vetting on the #Internet, Email and Social Media for Scammers and Trolls

Welcome to the first edition for 2021 of my monthly column – Realms of Relationship I write for Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine. In this Part 1 of 2, I’m discussing the importance of vetting online communications – emails, social media, etc – for scammers and trolls. In part 2 this month, I’ll be delving further into what you need to know when it comes to vetting potential online relationships of the heart.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – January 2021 – Online Connections–Vetting on the Internet, Email and Social Media for Scammers and Trolls

 

Happy New Year and welcome back to a new year of Realms of Relationships. This is my corner at Smorgasbord Blog Magazine where Sally generously, gives me a featured spot here to share some nuggets of experience on various aspects of communication and relationships we encounter and form through life, where I talk about how I analyze and deal with same issues.

 

Scam emails

 

Much of the world has at least somewhat of a digital existence since the advent of the internet became an appendage part of our lives these past few decades. Internet has become a whole new entity of itself and some who aren’t so internet savvy have to be extra diligent about who they allow into their circles – even more so – into their lives, digitally.

Now, we all know the many pros about living digitally, but do we know how to recognize the cons?

Social media, email and online dating apps can become threatening when allowing or inviting the wrong type of people into our circles. It’s essential we verify who we are speaking with on the other side of the internet before we allow them into our business.
On the pro side, social media and group apps are a good thing to keep us engaged, and a good means to interact with our peers and family. We can Zoom with friends, family, and for meetings, which of course has been a lifeline for many during this Coronavirus time.

We can instant message our friends and family through apps and texts. And we can make connections with like-minded people globally. And of course, there are numerous apps online for dating. But I caution to be diligent on those apps, and I’ll get to that next issue.

On the con side, in order to make healthy and honest connections in this era of trolls and scammers, we should all be doing our due diligence verifying the people we allow in our circles, making sure they are authentic. Before we make new bonds or meet up with people we’ve met on apps, it’s essential that we do a little background checking. Just as it’s equally important to verify the true source of an email before allowing ourselves to be scammed. And these topics are what I’m going to cover here today.

***

 

fraud alert

 

Let’s begin with scam emails and how to detect them – what we need to look for when siphoning out a suspicious email. For example, I’ll share about some usual scammy emails I have personally received over time – scam emails from my bank, my government, Amazon, and Paypal and how I deal with them.

In the past few weeks alone, I’ve been inundated with emails from Amazon, informing me that my account is under investigation and has been closed due to suspicious activity, or requires my attention. The messages all ‘conveniently’ offer me a link so I can log in to my account and check what the ensuing problem is. DON’T! Do not click on that link! In fact, when you receive any kind of such emails NEVER EVER click on the supplied link in the email to sign into your account to investigate. NEVER! This is how the hackers get into your account, you are opening the door for them. Their intent with these emails are , they are hoping you do exactly that, open it!

I’m beyond recognizing these scams because they are so frequent. I just auto delete and don’t even bother going over to Amazon to check anything because I know the ruse. But for those of you who get startled and alarmed by such scary information and feel the need to verify, just GO directly to Amazon URL and log in to your account DIRECTLY FROM AMAZON. You are going to the source direct. If there is any problem with your account, Amazon will be only too happy to leave a notification on your account.

How to recognize scam mail –a huge tell of a scammy email is to look directly within the URL address from the sender. Any reputable company sending email will have no extra gobbledygook attached to the sender name. When you receive email from Amazon it will say something like -“Amazon dot com@support or something of its ilk, but it WILL NOT HAVE any other tails attached to the URL, such as random letters and numbers or names – like this:  –Please continue reading at Sally’s Smorgasbord.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – January 2021 – Online Connections–Vetting on the Internet, Email and Social Media for Scammers and Trolls | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

 

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Smorgasbord – Something to Think About – #Reminder – Going on holiday with your BFF Social Media by Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Sally Cronin shares her annual reminder about warning us to be careful while on holiday about what we post on social media, to keep our home safe while away.

I trot this post our once a year as a reminder that you are being watched… even when you are not in front of your computer screen. It is not only thieves and vagabonds you need to worry about who might have designs on your empty house, but also trying to claim on your health insurance for some unfortunate mishap that took place while you were having fun in the sun.

If your social media is plastered with you indulging in risky behaviour you may be hearing he words (non,no,nein,niet) from your insurance provider.

Depending where you go at home or abroad, it can be expensive, especially at peak times, but there are also other costs to take into account resulting from our online exposure.

We have all read the stories in the press of teenagers planning a get together whilst parents are away for the night and five thousand turn up on the doorstep and then trash the house.. Every parent’s nightmare.. Yet we adults also have to be careful about what we post on Facebook that might invite unwanted guests into our home. We also have to be savvy about what we post while we are away, as this too might end up costing you thousands.

Apart from swearing children to secrecy about their much anticipated two weeks away from August 1st to all their friends. (I am not suggesting for a minute that they might harbour criminal intent), we also need to guard against announcing our time away online to our ‘friends’ on Facebook and other media. I am always clear when I am going away that there is someone in the house, electrified fencing and a python loose in the garden!

As we head towards the summer holidays and millions of us board planes and ships to travel around the world, the first thing that we want to do is share our wonderful experiences. With the world-wide web you can post your images to Facebook and other sites every day as you relax on your tropical lanai and watch the sun go down. Clearly this is not Northampton…… Please continue reading at Sally’s Smorgasbord

 

 

Source: Smorgasbord – Something to Think About – #Reminder – Going on holiday with your BFF Social Media by Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine