How to protect yourself from scams on Twitter and Facebook

Phishing attacks–situations in which scammers attempt to obtain your login information to a website–have been proliferating on Facebook and Twitter over the past several days. These phishing sites may be online quizzes or promises to increase your follower count. Once they get your username and password, by asking you to log in to access their “service,” they use that information to send messages to your friends attempting to get them to hand over their own usernames and passwords.

If you receive a message from a friend on Facebook or Twitter with a suspect link, don’t click the link and just delete the message (Facebook) or ignore the Tweet (Twitter). Your account is not infected, but your friend’s is. If possible, let your friend know that his or her password needs to be changed.

If you’ve found that your account is infected, start by going into your web browser preferences and clearing “cookies.” How to do this will vary depending on the web browser you use, but it will generally be located in the “security” area. Then go to the infected account and change your password. For Twitter users, note that you’ll need to change your password in your third party clients (Tweetie, TweetDeck, etc.).

[via Mashable (Twitter information), Mashable(Facebook information)]


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Aaron Sumner

Aaron Sumner is the Director of Technology for Research and Development at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has worked in web development and instructional technology since 1994.