Data harvested from Facebook used in boiler room scams
You may think you are being particularly prudent by not putting all of your personal information on your social network account, and you are right to think so. But what if you have accounts on many of these networks?
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – you may not put the same data on each, but compounded it may offer to interested parties more than just a peek into your life.
Here is an example: On Facebook, your name, address, relationship status are probably given. LinkedIn shows your place of employment and what is your position in the company, making it easy to gauge your income.
Comparing the photos on both accounts and the place you live in, one can conclude with a high degree of certainty that the two accounts belong to the same person. Factoring in the statuses and tweets that you make public, it’s easy to see how a person can find out many helpful details about the way you live your life.
This would not be a problem if there weren’t people who would try to take advantage of all this details to scam you.
According to Four Past Four, the Serious Fraud Office of London has recently been warning some 10,000 people that their names and additional information harvested from social networking accounts are to be found on a list used by “boiler rooms” – bogus stockbroking companies that cold-call people on the list and try to push them into buying worthless, overpriced, or non-existent shares through high pressure sales tactics.
Most of us are susceptible to this kind of scam because – let’s face it – we can never have enough money, and the prospect of what seems easy earnings is sometimes difficult to turn down.
Since most of these boiler rooms are set overseas, it’s difficult to get them shut down. Awareness about these schemes is sometimes the only thing standing between the fraudsters and your money.