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Crooks Increasingly Defraud Social Net Users

Cyber crooks are manipulating tactics on social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Bebo to trap and cheat users, according to a report from security software developer McAfee.

The report says fraudsters are playing false with users to bring them to agree to give out their personal information, click on links, open attachments and allow reaching their online bank accounts. Scams on the Internet are showing up as rapidly growing fraud in Europe, McAfee said.

Scammers behave familiarly with users of social sites and trick them after getting easy access to information like users' nicknames, hobbies and interests on those sites. The practice is more frequent on News Corp's MySpace, McAfee said.

Experts at McAfee believe cyber criminals develop fake pages on the site and build networks of pals and extract information from them, said McAfee security analyst Sal Viveros in a statement, as reported by Australian IT on July 3, 2007.

There has been a nine-fold increase in the total websites crafted to entice users to disclose their personal information during the first six months of 2007, Viveros added.

Criminals defraud various kinds of Internet users, not just the less experienced, according to McAfee. They also collect personal information and contact details from the social networking sites and sell them off to spammers who send mass spam mails to those addresses. There also exists spam software that gathers lists of addresses from messenger accounts. Criminals use them to approach people and make them reveal their confidential information.

Luring e-mails to site visitors make them open dangerous links and malicious attachments appearing from supposed friends. The newcomers unfamiliar with the dangers are the most vulnerable to such frauds. Also promises of lucrative deals, jobs or relationships tempt people and trap them, McAfee elaborated.

Like all conmen contriving new tricks, online frauds thrive on an unending supply of methods to manipulate with victims on the Web, said Greg Day of McAfee.

Viveros advises people to maintain caution when they receive messages with attachment they can't recognize. Further to control online threats, users need to keep their anti-virus software, anti-spyware and firewalls updated.

Related article: Cross Site Scripting and phishing Flaws in Microsoft IE 7

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