Keeping Kids Safe Online

It is no surprise that cybercriminals are taking advantage of the Internet and the people who use it. The Internet is like a bad neighborhood with bad guys around every corner. Any parent with an ounce of sensibility should recognize that when your child is on the wild wild web, they are at the same risk as they would be walking through the red light district in any big city.

I’m not saying this because I want to instill fear and panic, I’m bringing this up because sex offenders, pedophiles, criminal hackers and identity thieves treat the online world as if it was the physical world and use the anonymity of the web and the easiness of approach to seduce your children into doing things they wouldn’t normally do.

The Secret Online Lives of Teens, a survey conducted by McAfee, reveals that tweens and teens are relatively clueless about online privacy. The study sheds light on this generation’s tendency to use the Internet in ways that translate to danger in the real world.

There always has, is, and will be a predatory element out there. Generally, most people don’t want to think about that or even admit that it’s true. Instead of acknowledging the risks, most people completely discount this reality, telling themselves, “It can’t happen to me or my kids.”

The good news is you can do something about it. As soon as a family member becomes active online, it’s time to educate them—no matter what age they are—about cyber safety.

  • Set up the computer in a high-traffic family area and limit the number of hours your children spend on it.
  • Be sure you have computer security software with parental controls.
  • Decide exactly what is okay and what is not okay with regard to the kinds of web sites that are appropriate to visit
  • Use only appropriate monitored chat rooms
  • Never log in with user names that reveal true identity or that are provocative
  • Never reveal your passwords
  • Never reveal phone numbers or addresses
  • Never post information that reveals your identity
  • Never post inappropriate photos or ones that may reveal your identity (for example: city or school names on shirts)
  • Never share any information with strangers met online
  • Never meet face-to-face with strangers met online
  • Never open attachments from strangers

Once you have established the rules, make a poster listing them, and put it next to the computer.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to ADT Home Security Source discussing Home Security and Identity Theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.

Phishing Scam: Using the U.S. General Commander in Iraq as Phish Food

Fishing of course is the sport of tossing a tasty wormy baited hook connected to a fishing line and patiently waiting for a fish to take the bait.

Phishing is the sport of tossing a wormy baited tasty lie connected to a wormy human and the degenerate patiently waits for a naïve victim to take the bait.

A phisher can send thousands of phish emails a day and eventually someone will get hooked.

Phishing is a $9 billion business. Unlike the ongoing depleting of the oceans fisheries, there are PLENTY of people out there to phish. Many of them today are from developing nations like India and China who are just getting a broadband connection to the internet and are considered fresh meat to the bad guy.

The New York Times reports “if you get an Internet appeal from Gen. Ray Odierno, the senior American commander in Iraq, asking you to pay lots of money to get your son or daughter out of combat duty, don’t believe it. And certainly don’t send the $200,000. General Odierno acknowledged that he is but one more victim of a social networking scheme offering a big — but fake — benefit, if you send big amounts of real money.

“I’ve had several scam artists on Facebook use my Facebook page and then go out asking people for all kinds of money: ‘If you pay $200,000, your son can get sent home early,’” General Odierno said at a Pentagon news conference.

Criminals may seek out military families and target them one by one or send a blast to thousands at a time and use a ruse that pulls at the heart strings of unsuspecting families who simply want their loved-one back home.

The General posted a large warning on his social networking site. “I have this big thing on my Facebook that says, If anybody asks you for money in my name, don’t believe it,” he said. “But it’s a problem.”

Frankly, I don’t like the idea of an American General having a Facebook page. It weird’s me out. Hopefully the high commander isn’t uploading pictures of himself doing shots of tequila while driving a tank.

My guess is there is someone out there who has the money and is probably acutely unaware of this type of scam, then is probably capable of getting hooked.  But more than likely nobody will cough up $200,000. But the scammers know to start high and they will go low. They will take a $1000.00 when it comes down to it. But they also know that people won’t argue with a General and nobody will “discount” the value of their loved-ones life. So overall it’s a pretty good scam. Just don’t take the bait.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to ADT Home Security Source discussing Facebook scams on CNN. Disclosures.

Online Dating Liar Liar is 5’4, not 5’10

But who cares? Apparently the dude with the 6 inch height difference did. And he figured the lady he was about to meet via chatting in an online dating service cared as well. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. Either way he started out in the relationship lying.

Many single people have been turning to the Internet for dating services. You can meet someone with the same interests, hobbies, and lifestyle. Dating services allow you to browse profile pages to shop for a potential mate while chatting it up with potential dates. In the process you are selling yourself as they are deciding whether to buy. And like a car on a “preowned” lot that was recovered from the waters of hurricane Katrina, the truth is often suppressed. .

But what happens when you decide to meet someone and you begin to discover little white lies? Realize that little white lies are often a front for big darker lies.

What else is this person hiding?   Are they married, have kids? Gone bankrupt, been arrested for violence? Or are they a registered sex offender? Are they unemployed when they said they have a job?

Sometimes the truth hurts and people innocently choose to adopt the “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” philosophy and simply don’t cough up the truth. Nothing good can come of this. This is why it is essential that you do your homework and find out as much about this person as possible to head off any potential heartaches.

Much of what you need to know about your new encounter can be found by doing a quick and easy background check. But don’t stop there. Google them, check out their Facebook page and dig as deep as you need to verify as much as possible to determine if their nose is growing.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal Security Expert and Adviser to Intelius.com. See him discussing Dating Security on E! True Hollywood Stories.

For more information see Intelius at Sex Offender Check and Date Check to reduce your chances of encountering a bad guy. (Disclosures)

Sex Offender Sets Up Facebook Page Looking For Love

A sex offender, who spent 11 years in a court-ordered treatment program to rehabilitate him, is looking for a relationship via Facebook.

Facebook is approaching the 500 million member mark worldwide. Chances are there are a few sex offenders in there somewhere. I’d guess anywhere between 1 and 3 percent have a penchant for violating another persons sanctity. Statistically out of the 300 million people in the U.S., there are 500,000 registered sex offenders. Of those registered, thousands more aren’t and many haven’t been caught. You do the math.

He’s 29, so he was in detention since he was 18. His mom must be proud. He was found guilty of sexually assaulting girls. If I was one of the girl’s dads I’d be “friending” this dude to know what he is up to.

He has now set up a Facebook page, with a picture of pop singer Pink, in a bid to date women. Sounds like a real interesting guy.

The Herald Sun pointed out that 3 of his 12 online friends have profile photographs on his page which include children. Just ducky.

Be careful who you friend. They really are out there. Living breathing whacky predators.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal Security Expert and Adviser to Intelius.com. See him discussing Sex Offenders on Fox Boston.

For more information see Intelius at Sex Offender Check and Date Check to reduce your chances of encountering a bad guy. (Disclosures)

Personal Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker to Appear on E! Network’s ‘True Hollywood Stories Investigates’

(BOSTON, Mass. – June 5, 2008 – IDTheftSecurity.com) Robert Siciliano, a personal security and identity theft expert speaker and CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, will appear in “THS Investigates: Dating Nightmares,” an episode of the series “E! True Hollywood Stories.” The episode will run on June 6. In it, Siciliano and others will share advice on how to avoid dangerous cyber relationships, Internet child predators, swindling suitors, psychopaths, stalkers, and more. Readers may view YouTube video of the show’s trailer. Information on show times is available at E! Online.

“This show is a must-see for any single in the dating game,” said Siciliano. “While singles have far more options than ever before to meet their match, the new ways of finding that special someone are also fraught with dangers. Anyone who’s dating, especially women and those who are dating online, must educate themselves.”

Member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients through consumer education workshops that explore security solutions for business and individuals. A longtime identity theft speaker, he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX News Network, and elsewhere.

“Parents must also pay specific attention as well,” said Siciliano. The show features children under the age of 18 who have become victims of Internet predators. “It is essential that concerned parents understand the risks their children face while on the computer. The days of simply telling your kids not to talk to strangers are over. Today, those strangers could be right in the child’s bedroom chatting online and even exchanging lewd photographs.”

“Another danger surrounding online dating is identity theft,” Siciliano continued. “Social engineers will often gain the trust of another through social media websites. These include dating sites. Those who date online must arm themselves with the knowledge they need to avoid criminals’ traps.”

Those wishing to learn how to protect themselves against identity theft may view video of Siciliano at VideoJug.

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About IDTheftSecurity.com

Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients. A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others. Visit Siciliano’s Web site, blog and YouTube page.

The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:

Robert Siciliano
Personal Security Expert
CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)
Robert@IDTheftSecurity.com
www.idtheftsecurity.com

The media may also contact:

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557
BrentSkinner@STETrevisions.biz
www.STETrevisions.biz