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The price of Facebook is eternal vigilance

by Thom Myers

Oct. 24, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Facebook scam.
Hurry! If you don't respond, your free iPad goes to someone else.
KALAMAZOO--Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

In the 21st century, eternal vigilance is the price of having accounts on the Internet. This is especially true of Facebook and other social networking sites, where you are prone to post personal information you would never, ever post anywhere else.

Western Michigan University's Facebook fan page has seen a sharp rise in scam and spam postings in the past two weeks. Most appear to be phishing messages aimed at obtaining personal information through fake ads offering free iPads or other inducements.

Photo of Facebook scam.
Please friend help me win photo contest. This not a scam.
"We have reported, deleted and blocked upwards of 100 messages a day," says Tonya Durlach, assistant director of electronic communication. "We surmise those who foolishly respond to these scams become the next round of message senders.

"It really is pretty easy to spot spam and scam messages in social media and email," says Durlach. "The messages are usually poorly phrased and contain a lot of misspellings—to make it harder to filter or block them—and the message is often threatening, an offer too good to be true, or an appeal to help a worthy cause or person trying to win a contest."

October is Cybersecurity Month and WMU is reminding students, faculty and staff to exercise caution and common sense in their online dealings.

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