This post is from one of my favorite bloggers, Marti Weston. Her blog Media! Tech! Parenting! is a fantastic resource for parents on helping kids to become thoughtful, collaborative, and savvy digital citizens. She covers everything from the latest apps to how to evaluate a website. Below is an excerpt from her latest post on how to identify online scams.
A week does not go by without students and parents asking me about an Internet scam, a circulating chain mail, a digital rumor, or a wild web story. And on a fairly regular basis, someone — always a good reliable kid or a terrific an reliable parent — forwards a digital missive that initially seems somewhat innocuous, silly, or sarcastic but then unleashes a virus or malware. Sometimes for children the strange digital content causes social problems.
To learn more about the unusual stories that circulate on the web, I suggest that 21st Century parents introduce Snopes.com to family members as soon as each individual begins using online communication and digital devices. We all need to learn how to consult Snopes resources and navigate around the site for helpful information — the true and reliable info — when strange and unusual content beckons.
Snopes researchers hear about a potential scam, a chain mail, a “too-good-to-be-true” story, something scary, or some outrageous spiel, and they check it out thoroughly, contacting sources and tracing the content. Once they post an explanation on the website, the researchers continue to update it as well as add the information to a database. So when something re-circulates a year or two later, it’s easy to locate current information on the website. Read the Snopes about page.
For the last 10 years, Homeland Security in partnership with other government agencies has declared October National CyberSecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). During this month, nonprofits, business, government and individuals join together to share how people can protect their devices and information in the digital world.
For kids and teens, the best security is teaching them to recognize potential trouble. Some of the ways, cybercriminals trick people appeal to both teens and kids. They should be cautious when clicking on links in messages, searching popular celebrities or downloading free stuff. These popular activities could lead to a nasty virus if they are not careful.
Clicking on Links in Messages
This is a direct message I received from Twitter. On Facebook, users may receive a similar message about being tagged in a Facebook post. Clicking these type of links may land a person on a site prompting them to download a feature to see the picture. Unfortunately, downloading this feature may allow thieves to access everything stored in the browser, including accounts with saved passwords.
Some scams are obvious. Most adults know not to send money to the Nigerian Prince or their neighbors stuck in Europe. But sometimes, these scams are more subtle. Emails from a trusted source may contain harmful links. This month, I received this email from my cable service.
Dear Comcast Member,
The credit card we have on file for your Comcast Internet service was declined when we attempted to bill you on 10/09/2012 for your most recent service fees.
For this reason, your service could be suspended. Please visit our Account Information pages,