Saturday, June 23, 2018
Consumer

Protect your PC from click-quick scams

If you're on Facebook you've probably seen the tantalizing come-on: full downloads of the just-released blockbuster movie, free gift cards at your favorite store and even a look at who is peeping at your profile. The only thing these promises fulfill is making a sucker — and victim — out of you with a click that takes a nanosecond.

The result can range from annoying to devastating, from a hacker hijacking your email to send nefarious offers to your friends to the planting of a virus that can knock out your computer. Knowing that danger potentially lurks with every click could be enough to make you unplug.

So how do you avoid being taken without going offline?

To be blunt, the best overall approach is to be a bit antisocial in a social world, said Phil Lieberman, president and chief executive of Lieberman Software.

Although many of us click "likes" and links as automatically as we blink, you should trust no one enough to click without thinking.

Sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook encourage just the kind of click-quick mentality that works in the favor of thieves.

More often than not, we have no idea where that one click of a link is taking us, and thieves can easily make you think you're entering a legitimate website.

The easy availability of personal information on social media sites enables criminals to personalize their pitches with details about your location and to make it look as if your friends are involved with minimal effort or skill.

And, with the viral nature of sharing through these sites, sometimes your friends become unwitting accomplices because they've clicked a link or shared something that looks legitimate.

And just like the flu, it spreads because it's not just telling two friends, but hitting possibly hundreds or thousands of friends in a single post, pin or tweet.

To that end, the one thing all people surfing the Web should do, whether on or off social networks, is to inoculate their computers as best they can.

Make sure the antivirus and operating system software on the computer are up-to-date, said Chris Boyd, senior threat researcher for GFI Software. Although scammers can adapt their tactics and shift rather quickly, antivirus software is armor, however imperfect and occasionally penetrable, against attack.

Another rule of thumb is to avoid strangers bearing gifts.

Those offers of gift cards and free iPads just for filling out a survey or clicking a link most likely won't pan out. If it sounds too good to be true, it simply is.

Another popular scam on Facebook is one that appeals to our egos — or maybe the paranoid person inside — and one that has been around since the heyday of Myspace: the chance to see who has been accessing our profiles.

"They were the survey scammers of the day," Boyd said. "Unfortunately, we're just too curious."

Ultimately, as a social network citizen, you've got to be your own best neighborhood watch and apply your real-world street smarts to think before you click.

Comments
Shop with Pride this weekend

Shop with Pride this weekend

WEAR THE RAINBOW: SHOP WITH PRIDEHaven't got a stitch to wear to St. Pete Pride this weekend? Local artist and designer Chad Mize has you covered, literally. Each year, he makes new T-shirt designs for Pride, and he's back at it again with four new o...
Published: 06/21/18
Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Rainbow connection Pride weekend: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend in St. Petersburg, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coc...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

1 Summer Plant Festival: If you think you canít get anything to thrive in Floridaís brutal summers, check out the vendors with fruit trees and advice on how to grow them, along with hundreds of blooming butterfly plants, herbs and tropical and exotic...
Published: 06/20/18
Fatherís Day events for every Dad

Fatherís Day events for every Dad

FATHER'S DAY: TAKE DAD OUTSo maybe shopping isn't high on the list of things you'd think to do with Dad for Father's Day, but I'm not suggesting dragging him around the mall. There are quite a few cool events this weekend that Dad can enjoy, and you ...
Published: 06/14/18
Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

HolidayFatherís Day: Sunday brings us a day to honor the guy who cheered us on, called us down and blamed us for his bald spot. Itís Fatherís Day! A number of local attractions are offering free admission for dads if at least one ungrateful progeny t...
Published: 06/14/18
5 things to do under $5: Dive-In Movies, Studio@620 birthday party, 71-cent burgers at Hard Rock

5 things to do under $5: Dive-In Movies, [email protected] birthday party, 71-cent burgers at Hard Rock

1Happy Birthday [email protected]: The community artists’ collective is celebrating its 14th birthday Saturday, with a free party at the perfectly timed 6:20 p.m. The little studio in downtown St. Petersburg puts on an array of art shows, concerts and...
Published: 06/13/18
Busch Gardens brings back fireworks, free Adventure Island pass with Fun Card

Busch Gardens brings back fireworks, free Adventure Island pass with Fun Card

Back "by popular demand" Busch Gardens has announced the Tampa theme park will once again have a fireworks on weekends this summer, and the park also brought back its deal that gets you a free pass to Adventure Island water park with the purchase of ...
Published: 06/12/18
Hereís what the

Hereís what the "b" stands for in IHObís new (and temporary) name

Thatís it, International House of Pancakes? Thatís the best you can do? You announce last week that you are mysteriously changing your name from IHOP to IHOb, and every pancake eater in the land gets busy. Sample coy tweet: "Dear Internet, we abbreci...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18
Fila collaborates with Burn Rubber sneaker boutique and shop Safety Harbor this weekend

Fila collaborates with Burn Rubber sneaker boutique and shop Safety Harbor this weekend

YBOR'S GOT SOLE: BURN RUBBER X FILABurn Rubber is a sneaker boutique in Ybor City that opened last October. The shop is the second location for the decade-old Detroit-based brand. Tampa resident Omar Ghanem, originally from Detroit, had been a suppor...
Updated one month ago
5 things to do under $5: Free golfing for kids, $5 admission at Imagine Museum

5 things to do under $5: Free golfing for kids, $5 admission at Imagine Museum

1 $5 Thursdays: The new Imagine Museum is offering $5 admission on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. through June 28. The museum is dedicated to glass art, especially studio glass, a fairly recent movement in the scope of glass art, with pieces that take a pag...
Updated one month ago