A recent rash of hackers have decided that emailing you and asking for money is just not the way to go.  Now, hackers are getting into the social networks and assuming identities of others and asking for money.

One of the common ploys now is to pretend that the person they are imitating is out of the country, or state depending on the scenario, and asking you to wire emergency money.  Sophos, the security company, noted this recently in an alert.

I know you say to yourself, well why would I send them anything.  I know it isn’t them.  Really I do.  Think carefully about the scenario itself.  A hacker with access to the social networks of the person in question (normally they use the same password everywhere) will be able to provide incredible amounts of personal data that they could use to try and convince you.

Imagine they break into your email or Facebook account and start asking friends for help.  Soon they send an email or Facebook note to back it up.  Why would the friend suddenly doubt it?  They know about your pictures, emails, communications and possibly even chats.  Odds are you would help.

So what can you do on both sides?  A secure password is a great place to start.  The rules are simple, so stop making life easy.  You can remember a random alphanumeric string of at least 8 characters.  I am sure you can.

If you get one of these emails, be diligent in asking all the right questions.  Did you even know your friend was out of town?  Do you know where they were headed? (don’t send money to Germany when they are in South America).  can they verify anything at all that you would know that wouldn’t be on the networks themselves?

Scary thing is, you are finding it hard to find items you haven’t placed on the networks aren’t you?

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