August 20, 2013 > Avoid online cons targeting teens
Avoid online cons targeting teens
Submitted By Newark PD
Sound Too Good To Be True? It Likely Is.
Think that falling for an online scam or trick only happens to someone else? Not so. It can happen to the best of us if you or someone in your family isn't careful - especially teens. To help prevent your teenagers from falling prey to any not-so-nice intentions, here are some telltale signs that could help tip off an apparent con.
Free music, free movies, free everything: Everyone loves free stuff. And some bands and app developers are hip to this. Temporary giveaways, or apps that are free with in-app purchases, are popular. But beware of the illegal downloads found in the dark corners of the Internet. They can lead to real trouble.
* Here's the real deal: If your teen is downloading gigabytes of copyrighted material, you could wind up paying in more ways than one. Even if you manage to escape legal action from the copyright holders, the downloaded content could secretly harbor malware. This includes software that could log your keystrokes, send spam, and more. The risk isn't worth it. Speak to your teen about this.
They're going to be rich (maybe): Teens and the promise of getting lots of money can cause logic to fly out the window. It's an offer akin to dangling a carrot on a stick: Do X to get Y. And X usually tends to involve wiring money to strangers.
* Here's the real deal: If you've really won or inherited a large sum of money, or if that fabulous work-from-home job offer is legitimate, why would you need to pay money to get it? If you get an email like this, delete it. Don't respond, as you'll only alert the scammers that they have a live email address.
The "perfect" online date: The Internet has opened up a whole new avenue to teen dating. But is it safe? It depends. There are those who use dating sites in an earnest attempt to find that special someone, and there are those who are merely looking to scam others. What's the usual tip-off to the latter? Money. Again.
* Here's the real deal: Scammers on dating sites have changed the old tactics of posting a model's photo with an impossibly great bio to something more down to earth. They'll send emails for a while, engaging you or your teen with friendly conversation - only to bring up needing money later. Supposedly, the person's parent or grandparent is sick (so he/she says). Most likely, this is just part of the con routine. If this happens, report it to the online dating site's administrators and discuss it with your family.
Deals too good to be true: Many teens thrive on being popular in school. This often connotes fitting in with the newest, latest, and greatest clothes and technology. But these things don't come cheaply, which is why scams involving "free" smartphones; loans with no credit check; and high school or college diplomas you can buy (although worthless) still lure plenty of people into their trap.
* Here's the real deal: To adults, these deals may seem highly suspect, but teens don't have a great deal of life experience yet - something scammers use to their advantage. Talk to your kids. Let them know these cons are out there and specifically targeting them.
It would be great if the Internet was nothing but hugs and kittens, but it isn't. Young teens may act grown up, but they aren't. They still need guidance. Following these tips and sharing them with your loved ones can help keep the scammers at bay.