Tips on protecting your privacy rights and your identity

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Recently Facebook updated their security features claiming the changes would not only make life easier for its 350 million users, but the changes would enhance the social networking site's security measures.

Privacy rights experts say that may not be the case.  While acknowledging that many of the changes unveiled would be good for privacy, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Attorney Kevin Bankston said the social-networking giant is also removing some important privacy controls that it should have kept.

"I think you're better off in some ways and worse off in some ways," he said. "It's really a mixed bag."

Ari Schwartz, chief operating officer of the Center for Democracy and Technology, offered a similarly mixed review. According to him, giving people more control over who sees their individual posts is a good thing, but the new default privacy settings will push a lot more information into the public realm. That "actually has a negative effect on privacy," he said.

Bankston was more forthright in an EFF blog post.

"Our conclusion? These new 'privacy' changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before," Bankston wrote. "Even worse, the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data." Read more over at

Shawn Mosch, co-founder of ScamVictimsUnited points out that until Facebook changes their privacy policies, you can opt-out of having your information shared with third parties by following a few quick steps;

Here's how:

   1. First, log into Facebook in a new window or tab.

   2. Next, go to the "Instant Personalization" page (under Account/Privacy Settings/Applications and Websites) and uncheck the "allow" box.

   3. To prevent the third parties from accessing your information through your friends who have not opted out, you need to visit Pandora, Microsoft, and Yelp and click on the "Block Application" link in the upper left corner of the page.

   4. Finally, check Facebook's "Help Center" frequently to see an up-to-date list of applications that need to be individually blocked to maintain your privacy.

Shawn offers a couple of scam alerts below: Remember, it's what you don't know that will hurt you.

Do you know about Click and Trick Cons?

Click and Trick schemes, also called "data pass", occur when a customer goes online to make a legitimate purchase and then agrees to a SECOND transaction without knowing it.  Because the customer does not need to enter their credit card information they may even believe they are accepting a free trial of a product or service and it is not until they see the charges on their credit card to they know that it was not really "free".

This is just another reason that we should all be careful of what we click on when we are online, and monitor our credit card statements closely to make sure no surprise charges show up.

Beware of rental scams

Rental scams are a huge problem in today's world. Not only do the scammers answer ads posted on the internet pretending to be a person interested in renting your home, but they also will post their own ads of beautiful homes in upstanding communities and they will pretend to be renting them out. They will provide you with pictures of the property and any information that you request about it and the surrounding community, but the one thing that they cannot do it show you the property in person. They will tell you that they are in another state or country on business, and that is why they cannot show you the property in person.

When looking for a home to rent, never send any money via Western Union or Money Gram for a deposit or to hold the home. Tour the home in person before making any arrangements with anyone. If they cannot show you the home, or arrange for someone else to show you the property, then it is a scam.

Read more from Shawn over at

Today there are all sorts of predators and con artists who spend their time creating ways to scam you. A con artist is like a shady door-to-door salesperson.  Both use high pressure sales tactics to get you to buy something you neither want nor need.  Both make promises they have no intention of keeping, and both offer a third-rate product.  Remember, if you stay in-tuned to the latest scams circulating today -you will be far less likely to fall for one of them.

Think Fraud. ...if not now, when?
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