you have a Facebook account?
so… how many friends do you have? Has anyone ever approached you
with a friend request and left you scratching your head?
ask to develop this in a general way. Here are a couple of stories
that kind of open up where I hope to take us…
was talking to a good friend of mine the other day… in person,
over a cup of coffee. The discussion turned to Facebook and Twitter
and such, and he started laughing about one of his Facebook friends.
when he got a friend request from this person, he couldn’t quite
place the name. It sure sounded familiar to him… maybe a name
change through marriage was involved. She had several friends
in common with him though, from a place he had worked at for a
few years until he left about ten years ago.
he accepted the request.
after, he began noticing that he never saw any posts from her.
Nothing. And the reason he noticed this was that every day her
name popped up in those wonderful game invitation announcements.
we talked he said he was debating pulling her friendship status.
(Yes… the dreaded unfriending.) But the funny thing was, he had
been considering it for months and just couldn’t do it. She wasn’t
hurting anything that he could see… just creating game messages…
and there was still that gut-instinct kind of feeling he had,
created by her connection to other friends of his. More than four
dozen people were friends-in-common between him and her.
this day though, he still has no clue who she is.
second story involves my Facebook page for this web site, In
on I got a message that the page had picked up a new fan, and
had been liked by someone sending me a picture. When I opened
it, I saw a boy proudly holding up his backpack. (And I smiled.)
Not quite the “In My Backpack” I was referencing… and yet, even
if just for a few brief moments, the internet had allowed me to
make a connection with someone I didn’t know, still don’t know,
and likely never will meet.
with that offered to get us started, I want to mention an
article about technology scams. It discussed the amazing
and informal ways that we interact these days, and how con artists
and scammers use things like Facebook to create the impression
of connections that really don’t exist. They want to develop a
fake sense of trust… and from it get that brief second of misdirection
that diverts you from seeing the trick as it is pulled off right
in front of you.
called this article “The perfect crime” because… I’m sure like
many of you… I have noticed a growing sophistication in scams
that essentially is based on a lack of sophistication. And the
article I linked to explains a portion of it.
you seen e-mails about the package you sent several months ago
that couldn’t be delivered? Sophisticated… it takes a process
like mailing a package, and tries to place it so far in the past
that you won’t readily recall you sent no such package.
you seen the e-mails about how your taxes are messed up? Sophisticated…
using a government agency and the move to e-filing to adjust your
focus away from the reality that the IRS wouldn’t e-mail you (and
probably wouldn’t use an e-mail address that you never provided
them with if they did).
see where this is going. The attempts at deceit are set up to
look legitimate, and then end up failing miserably. Why?
mainly because they raise your suspicions. Sure, there is the
horrendous spelling and poor language skills. And many are just
awful in what they claim to represent.
what really is to blame is a level of sophistication… or, if you
will, a level of effort that sounds the bells of intuition. When
you claim to be the IRS… or to represent a company a person has
done business with… the end result is that most people, quite
aware of the big scary world technology is creating, are going
to at least partially raise their shields.
how about when you get an e-mail like this…
the file I promised you.”
to attach this when I e-mailed you earlier.”
simple approach here. And that’s what the article… and my stories…
are talking about.
a look at my friend again.
doesn’t catch up with many of his old co-workers on a regular
basis, so he hasn’t tried to contact any of them to ask about
the mystery friend. But he hasn’t removed her from his friend
not the perfect crime because it works… because the design is
flawlessly inventive… because the con artist will never get caught.
in this case it’s because it’s so fiendishly simple.
know someone that doesn’t lock her (or his) car. Says if someone
wants to steal it, the preference would be that the windows wouldn’t
be broken when the car was found.
part, I get it. A broken window is a possibility. Door unlocked
tends to remove that problem.
is that the only bad thing a person stealing your car would do
to the car? If you keep the door unlocked the thief still has
to deal with the ignition. (Unless, of course, you keep the keys
in it too.) And a locked door might cause a potential thief to
move on to the next vehicle. In short… it’s no guarantee of a
what I really think about it is that it’s a lot easier to gain
access to where you aren’t supposed to be when someone doesn’t
use the locks available to keep you out.
worth keeping that in mind when the e-mails arrive.