As the “Day of the Innocents” dawned, a day traditionally reserved for jokes and japes, the National Police warned of numerous new frauds and hoaxes that are spreading through social networks. These spread particularly rapidly in social networking and communication applications such as Whatsapp , with the aim of achieving an economic benefit for criminals or to create unfounded alarm in the population.

Phishing, Premium SMS subscriptions, virtual kidnapping, false job offers, discount voucher promises, damaged packaging products or sales that never occur are just some of the methods being used by cybercriminals in their quest to trick or rob their victims. Even worse, some threats become viral using such methods as fake warnings about alleged abductions of children, sweets impregnated with LSD, and even bomb threats left by terrorists.

A common practice for these criminals is not only to leave a trace as their doctored image or message is spread around, a trace that can sometimes impregnate your own computer, or simply leave a minor security hole for exploiting later, clicking on rogue links or messages can install various types of malware, spyware or viruses that you may never realise exist.

In order to combat these threats, the police advise that you keep your computer updated and protected by the latest anti-spyware and anti-virus software, acquired through official channels; use common sense and rational distrust, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is; using secure platforms for economic transactions, using a secure payment method on a secure site; all of these methods go some way to helping you to avoid becoming a victim of cyber crime, fraud or scam.

New gadgets such as smartphones or tablets have become powerful tools for committing evil “pranks”, the Specialists Technology Research Unit (ITU) and Social Networking Group of the National Police have registered thousands of complaints, inquiries and requests for help from the internet through their own technology channels @policia on Twitter, or www.policia.es/colabora.php. By raising awareness of these criminal efforts, they hope to reduce the impact of the criminals and advise that we can all exercise our own vigilance and hopefully not become a victim of crime.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42064/

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