Beware of Facebook ‘invitation’ scams

By Anna Valmero, loQal.ph

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA— Users of popular social networking website Facebook should be wary of bogus event “invitations”, according to security firm Sophos.

If you clicked “Yes” to attend a recent Facebook event called "Who blocked you from his friend list?", chances are you have been a victim of spammers who sold your online information.

Over 165,000 people have been tricked into attending the said event with some 10.3 million users still debating whether to respond or not, and the event is only one in a million of fake events organized to mine data from online profiles, according to Sophos.

"These spammed-out event invitations and links to survey scams are one of the biggest nuisances on Facebook right now, impacting millions of users daily," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

Simply put, social networking sites are actually tools for data mining for companies.

After viewing the invite page, unwary users are lured to click the "More Info" section of the events summary. Unknown to users, scammers embed instructions into this section, leading unsuspecting users into visiting web pages for online surveys or competitions, said Sophos.

Through the surveys, scammers can earn commission when a user gives out personal information. Sometimes, users are asked for their cellphone number, which is then signed up to an expensive service.

The reminder against bogus online events comes timely after the "public event" was shared online by thousands of Facebook users, including those in the Philippines.

According to Facebook user tracker Checkfacebook.com, the Philippines is the fifth country with the most number of Facebook users at 22.65 million as of April 2011, up two places from seventh place in August 2010.

That means the number of Filipino users is equivalent to 3.6 percent of total 629 million accounts in Facebook, according to the site tracker.

"It would be great if Facebook was being more proactive in shutting down these obviously bogus events, as currently it's far too easy for the scammers to fill their pockets through schemes like this," said Cluley.

For now, he said online users have to be proactive and should never accept unsolicited invitations from suspicious events and always think twice before clicking on links received via Facebook.

Aside from bogus events, recent Facebook scams include solicitations from grandparents who received a call from someone claiming to be a long-lost grandchild, according to online magazine Security News Daily.

Personal information including a person's full name, address, complete date of birth and contact details including email ad mobile number makes a person vulnerable to attacks "so there should be online vigilance," said Sonnie Santos, blogger of Web Safety Philippines that was named best advocacy blog in 2010

On a blog post, Santos wrote that 90 percent of the 30 million Filipino online users use social networking sites like Facebook. Some 19 percent of users are under 13-years-old, which makes it easier for scammers to get personal data.

"In the end, there is no privacy on the Internet but we believed that by educating Filipinos, we will prevent cyber harassment and cyber crimes... Incidents of stealing identity, cyber bullying, cyber boso, cyber stalking and other cyber crimes will be minimized," said Santos.

Santos gave these simple tips to avoid bogus event invites:

1. Accept friend requests and event invites only from people whom you know personally.

2. Avoid clicking buttons or filling up surveys with personal information about an event.

3. Do not post your email or mobile number on your public Facebook profile. This goes for personal information such as full birth date or family relations. Or make this profile information only available only to friends or a limited number of people.

4. Do not click “Yes” or “Cancel” on pop-ups, instead click the close button.

5. Facebook tracks your online web searches so clear your cache or log off at Facebook to prevent data mining.

Be cautious of what you put online such as places of vacation.

***

loQal.ph is a website owned and operated by Filquest Media Concepts, Inc. It works under the principle of giving voice to the voiceless, empowering Filipinos and uplifting the image of the Philippines by highlighting its unique culture. To do this, the loQal.ph team produces stories, video, photos and other multimedia content types to inspire and celebrate Filipino achievements, ideas, products and places.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a movement in the West Valley Fault. The West Valley Fault has moved four times in the past 1,400 years at an interval …

  • Subaru XV now priced among sedans
    Subaru XV now priced among sedans

    Motor Image Philipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the country, has positioned its brand new crossover SUV, the Subaru XV, well within the sedan segment’s price range. This move, according to MIP, was made to give the public an opportunity to experience the brand’s unique automotive technologies by lowering its price. Buyers of […] The post Subaru XV now priced among sedans appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options