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General Internet Safety Tips: [ back ] [ recognize fraud emails and phishing scams ]

Usociable.com® wants you to have a fun and safe online experience. Don't forget that your profile and Usociable forums are public spaces. Don't post anything you wouldn't want the world to know (e.g., your phone number, address, IM screens name, or specific whereabouts). Avoid posting anything that would make it easy for a stranger to find you, such as where you hang out every day after school.

People aren't always who they say they are. Be careful about adding strangers to your friends list. It's fun to connect with new Usociable friends from all over the world, but avoid meeting people in person whom you do not fully know. If you must meet someone, do it in a public place and bring a friend or trusted adult.

Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If you feel someone's behavior is inappropriate, react. Talk with a trusted adult, or report it to Usociable or the authorities.

Don't post anything that would embarrass you later. Think twice before posting a photo or info you wouldn't want your parents or boss to see!

Don't mislead people into thinking that you're older or younger. If you are under 18 and pretend to be older, customer service will delete your profile. If you are over 18 and pretend to be a teenager to contact underage users, customer service will delete your profile.

One of the attractions of the Internet is the anonymity of the user, and this is why it can be so dangerous. A child doesn't always know with whom he or she is interacting. Children may think they know, but unless it's a school friend or a relative, they really can't be sure. Often we think of pedophiles as having access to children out on the playground and other places, but because of the way the Internet works, children can actually be interacting on their home computers with adults who pretend to be children.

Child sexual exploitation occurs in every economic, social, ethnic, and religious group. With the explosion of the Internet into a powerful, worldwide medium, the danger to children, whether they are from New York or New Zealand, has drastically increased. Pedophiles and other sexual predators can use the Internet, with no precautions, to exchange names and addresses of other pedophiles and of potential child victims. Hidden behind screen names that are pseudonyms, they gather online and swap child pornography with amazing speed and in amounts beyond our wildest imagination, which excites them to molest even more.

Offline, pedophiles typically operate in isolation. Never before have pedophiles had the opportunity to communicate so freely and directly with each other as they do online. Their communication on the Internet provides validation, or virtual validation, for their behavior. They share their conquests, real and imagined. They discuss ways to contact and lure children online and exchange tips on seduction techniques. They are using the technology of the Internet to train and encourage each other to act out sexually with children. The Internet also serves as a tool for predators to exchange tips on the avoidance of law enforcement detection.

The most common means by which sexual predators contact children over the Internet is through chat rooms, instant messages and email. In fact, 89% of sexual solicitations were made in either chat rooms or instant messages and 1 in 5 youth (ages 10-17 years) has been sexually solicited online (JAMA, 2001). Considering that 25% of kids online participate in real time chat and 13 million use instant messaging, the risks of such children, either knowingly or unknowingly, interacting with a predator is alarming. See Parents Safety Guide section.

To Report Illegal Online Activity

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides excellent resources concerning sexual exploitation of children and related issues for the lay public, counseling community, and law enforcement agencies. NCMEC has created an extensive web presence for its Exploited Child Unit: http://www.missingkids.com. These web pages provide background information on laws and legislation, tips and pointers for parents and children, and lists of preventive resources on the various aspects of child sexual exploitation.

In addition to its Web pages, NCMEC, in partnership with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serves as the National CyberTipline. To report possible illegal online activity related to child pornography, predation, or any other type of child sexual exploitation, call the CyberTipline: 800-843-5678 (800-TheLost) or contact their Web site: http://www.missingkids.com

Don’t get hooked by a phishing scam. Phishing is a method used by fraudsters to try to get your personal information, such as your username and password, by pretending to be a site you trust. See below to learn more...


Recognize Phishing Scams and Fraudulent E-mails:

Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your valuable personal data, such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information. Con artists might send millions of fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from Web sites you trust, like your bank or credit card company, and request that you provide personal information.

What does a phishing scam look like?

As scam artists become more sophisticated, so do their phishing e-mail messages and pop-up windows. They often include official-looking logos from real organizations and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate Web sites. The following is an example of what a phishing scam e-mail message might look like.

Example of a phishing e-mail message, including a deceptive URL address linking to a scam Web site

To make these phishing e-mail messages look even more legitimate, the scam artists may place a link in them that appears to go to the legitimate Web site (1), but it actually takes you to a phony scam site (2) or possibly a pop-up window that looks exactly like the official site.

These copycat sites are also called "spoofed" Web sites. Once you're at one of these spoofed sites, you might unwittingly send personal information to the con artists.

How to tell if an e-mail message is fraudulent?

Here are a few phrases to look for if you think an e-mail message is a phishing scam:

"Hello..." Usociable.com email message... (from a random stranger or friend asking you to contact them directly at some other email address or phone number) - Scam

You have a received the following message from jenny smith (some random members name):

Date/Time: 5/7/2007 11:16:36 PM

Subject: Re->Hello

Message Body: Hello
I am jenny smith (some random name)  of good looking girl i am humble and cool
above all i am loving and caring i have gone through your profile treuly it is quite intresting to me i will like to have a good relationship with you so kindly get incontact with me through this address jennysmith@
(somesite).com so that i can tell you more about myself and also give you my picture hope to hear from you soon jenny

or:

Ave, dear (some random member name or your name)

I am looking for a strong, kind, caring man. In my life I have almost
everything except love. Evrything I want is to be loved by a man like you. You seemed to me very interesting and different from others. And I think you
are the man I was looking for sch a long time.You can be sure, I make you the happiest man in the world! I will make true all your fantasies. And I can be for you not only a perfect lover, but the best friend and good wife. We will spend all our free time together. I need you here. I need you like my lungs need air. I do not find strange that my second half is so far away, my destiny and

life has been all over the world, but now that I found you, I really need
you near me as soon as possible. pleese write me. I will be waiting for your

letter. ( with some random website name, Usociable name variation or site external link)

The best of luck

Juliana K. (some random name or members name)

or:

You have a received the following message from (some random members name):

Date/Time: 5/16/2007 6:39:48 AM

Subject: Re->

Message Body: mamush_babyXXXX@(somesite).com

HELLO

I'm miss mamush i came across your profile today and became much interested to know you more,you sound so gentle to me,please love is a continues journey in life,i will be happy if we can give love a chance to have his position in our life,please contact me personal so we can move forward(mamush_babyXXXX@(somesite).com)pleeese i will be waiting to read from your mail soonest so i can sent to you my pictures,remember age or color even distance cannot separatee a genuine love,pleeese I'm waiting to read from your mail soonest, MISS mamush

or:


You have a received the following message from (some random members name):

Date/Time: 5/25/2007 2:10:04 PM

Subject: Re->

Message Body: no subject

Hello my dear friend
I was looking through the web few weeks ago and found
your profile. Now I decided to email you to get to know
you beatter. I am coming to your country ibn few weeks
and thought may be we can meet each other. I am pretbty looaking girl.a I am 25. Do not reply to this abddress
directly. Email me back at wyart@(somesite).sjd.nigeria.uk

ACTIONS:

Notice the misspellings in the above emails and the urgency to "talk" but not through the website. Never respond to any email like this and if you receive a suspicious email from a real site member, click on Report Abuse from their profile and we will check it out and delete them. IMMEDIATELY. Never contact anyone directly or click on any links that you suspect may not be real or from Usociable. Always respond to people through the system by logging in directly at http://www.Usociable.com and never give out an real email addresses or phone numbers. Spammers and scammers like this gain your email then hit you with even more junk or worse.

"Verify your account." - Scam
Businesses should not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security numbers, or other personal information through e-mail. If you receive an e-mail from Usociable asking you to update your credit card information, do not respond: this phishing scam. To learn more, read Fraudulent e-mail that requests credit card information sent to Usociable customers. We never need or ask for credit card numbers for this site.

"If you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed." - Scam
These messages convey a sense of urgency so that you'll respond immediately without thinking. Phishing e-mail might even claim that your response is required because your account might have been compromised.

"Dear Valued Customer." - Scam
Phishing e-mail messages are usually sent out in bulk and often do not contain your first or last name.

"Click the link below to gain access to your account." - Scam
HTML-formatted messages can contain links or forms that you can fill out just as you'd fill out a form on a Web site. The links that you are urged to click may contain all or part of a real company's name and are usually "masked," meaning that the link you see does not take you to that address but somewhere different, usually a phony Web site. If you are ever unsure of a email link, always open a web browser and go directly to http://www.Usociable.com to be sure.

Use the latest products and services to help warn and protect you from online scams...

• Install the Microsoft Phishing Filter using Internet Explorer 7 or Windows Live Toolbar . Phishing Filter helps protect you from Web fraud and the risks of personal data theft by warning or blocking you from reported phishing Web sites. Learn more about how to get Phishing Filter .

• Install up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware software . Some phishing e-mail contains malicious or unwanted software that can track your activities or simply slow your computer. Try new antivirus and comprehensive computer health services like Windows Live OneCare. To help prevent spyware or other unwanted software, download Windows Defender.



 

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