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GDS International Investigates Scams on Twitter, Facebook

Social networking is huge today, but beware of running across a celebrity scam; Twitter, Facebook and MySpace are sites where you may run in to all kinds of trouble if you innocently believe that a post is being made by the actual celebrity. While many celebrities do interact with followers or post messages, falling for a celebrity scam can bring on a host of problems that can involve you personally and/or your computer.

Celebrities enjoy being socially active and communicating with friends and followers just as the rest of us do; that being said, there are plenty of spammers, identity thieves and even paparazzi who invent a celebrity scam in order to obtain your personal information. To the average user, everything looks on the up and up. It really is difficult to tell the difference between the real thing, and a hoax designed to steal either your money or your identity - or both.

In a celebrity scam, never-before-heard news is often involved. It may be scandalous or even totally unbelievable, and is meant to be so provocative that you cannot help but click on the link. This is where things can go horribly wrong, as the celebrity scam is designed to entice you to click, so that you can be taken advantage of. Supposed profiles of celebrities may also put you at risk; they may link to malicious phishing sites that are meant to trick you in to giving out personal information. The links look authentic, but in a celebrity scam may lead to a site that looks official and asks you to sign up as a member. Depending on the information you give out in signing up, fraudulent activities such as online purchases that you did not make can occur.

A celebrity scam can also lead to malware or spyware being placed on your PC without your knowledge. Usually, hot celebrity gossip is involved; in order to read or hear the scoop, you have to download a file. This is where the trouble begins; as you download the file, spyware installs on your computer. This software is capable of not only stealing your personal information such as credit card numbers and passwords, it can also damage your computer, causing it to become slow or even crash.

How do you prevent becoming the victim of a celebrity scam? As with other potential scams, use common sense. Change your passwords frequently, especially on social networking sites. Avoid using the same password for all of your online activities. In addition, ensure that your computer has a reliable firewall, as well as anti-spyware software and an up-to-date anti-virus program. Lastly, never give out your bank account or credit card numbers if you are not 100% certain you are dealing with a legitimate operation! By putting these measures in place and being smart, you can avoid becoming the victim of a celebrity scam.

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