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Socializing On Websites Encourages Scammers

In a survey released by the "National Cyber Security Alliance" on October 4, 2006, it is evident that a huge majority of adults are unknowingly exposing themselves to hackers and identity thefts as they surf online dating and other social networking sites.

Nearly 83% of adults engaged in social networking online and looking for 'love online' via popular dating websites and chat rooms have created a collective of potential victims vulnerable to identity thieves and scammers. During the process of conversing and socializing, they download unknown files of strangers' profiles exposing their PCs to attacks.

The NCSA's survey was a component of the initiative to start off "National Cyber Awareness month" in October this year. Most adults hooked on social networking sites, expressed their worries about becoming a victim of cyber crime. In this surfing, about 74% of people have disclosed their personal information, such as e-mail address, name or birthday.

A particular type of con specialist, known as 'Sweetheart Scammer', practices searching targets via online dating sites and chat rooms, says NCSA. They start the scam with identity theft. From every ten registrations on dating and social networking sites, one is a bogus profile. These bogus profiles result in various types of cost inflation associated with social networking websites. It also allows scammers to harass genuine members surfing on the sites.

The scammers send flowers and candy that they purchase with a robbed credit card to the targeted victims. Then they ship fake cashier check or money order asking the victim to deposit it. They try to make the victim cash the check and send the amount in money orders in post offices outside US location. If the victim cashes the fake check he falls in the trap and loses his money. In addition, he opens doors for future online harassment by the scammer.

As per Ron Texeria, the NCSA's executive director, those who are frequent visitors of these sites should know that when they share any data, they might fall prey to attacks. Disclosing social security numbers, birthdays or names could help criminals to hack the financial records of the users.

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