Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Frauds, Scams Confusion for Everybody Who Goes On Line, i.e. All of Us.

Seems every day, I see awful new ways were awful people screw up your life via computer.

Online scams are old hat. Now, the New York Times is reporting on "ransomware" in which creeps infect your PC with a virus that freezes up everything, except for the message they send, saying if you send them a bunch of money, they'll unfreeze the thing.

Of course, they don't unfreeze the computer when victims send the money, but people try anyway, and the criminals get the money.

Most of the criminals seem to be those shadowy overseas figures you always hear about, usually from Eastern Europe. I imagine prosecuting these creeps isn't going to happen too often. I guess all you can wish for is karma.

The stolen money isn't the worst of it. Basically, when this happens, you have to call in an expert to rid your computer of the virus. And in doing so, the expert has to wipe away all your files. I guess this will encourage me to back up stuff, won't it?"

Things really have gone beyond the Nigerian money scams, haven't they?

In a much less serious bit of Internet weirdness, many people on Facebook are saying they are on the social networking site as having "liked" a company or cause and they insist they have done no such thing, according to Bernard Meisler at

There's some nonsensical likes, according to Meisler. A liberal supposedly liked Mitt Romney, an opponent of big box retailers is purported to have liked Walmart, and a vegetarian liked McDonald's.

Even dead people on Facebook are reported to be "liking" things. Really, how many dead people shop or order things through

My understanding is Facebook "likes" can make money for whoever is liked, and that could tempt people into finding fraudulent ways to get liked.

I really, really unlike all of this.

Meisler links to an October Business Insider piece that suggests if you reference a URL on your Facebook page, that might translate to a like, even if you were hating on whatever was in the Web site whose URL you referenced.

Facebook cracked down on fake likes earlier this autumn, but the problem seems to persist.

Facebook insists that people are probably liking things by accident as they fumble with the wrong buttons on their tiny smartphones, Meisler writes. The dead people liking things are probably a function of them hitting like buttons before they died, and the likes subsequently show up post mortem.

Meisler said maybe Facebook isn't doing this. It could be the retailers found a way to have their products, services or people liked by people who had no idea somebody was liking something on their behalf. Or a third party is selling the fake likes, Meisler speculates.

The bottom line is, it's more true than ever that many of us really don't know what we like.

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