• Amy Hervey

Don't Be Fooled by a Good Guesser

Fortune tellers do it. Identity thieves do it. Phishers do it. Salespeople even do it, to a certain extent. Taking a little bit of existing information and making an educated guess, trying to establish rapport, and “fill in the gaps” is a common practice.

We give away information about ourselves all the time, and unscrupulous individuals can find a way to take advantage. Knowing who you’re dealing with is absolutely essential in today’s online world!

I recently received an instant message from a longtime friend, and it just didn’t feel right. She had never messaged me before, although we regularly exchange phone calls, text messages, and even USPS mail. We exchanged greetings, then I asked, “How is your new puppy doing?”

When her response read, “Great,” I knew immediately that I was not talking with my friend. I was expecting something more along the lines of, “Have you lost your mind? I don’t have any pets, let alone a puppy!”

The person on messenger kept chatting, and I played along, staying engaged until I found out what he/she wanted (bank info) before “outing” them, whereupon the message window closed and the account itself disappeared. I called my friend immediately to let her know she was being spoofed, in case other friends were having the same experience.

There are many ways to hide behind a computer screen, and many scammers trying to take advantage of those who are uninformed, unaware or overly trusting. Take a moment to review your privacy settings on your social media accounts. Make sure you actually know who is seeing your posts and photos, and keep your private information private.

Stay safe!

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