As more people start to use online and mobile services that help them connect with friends and make new ones, the underbelly of society are actively targeting naïve, innocent and trusting members of our community.
Another tragic and frightening example has emerged of someone being groomed and befriended online, only to be assaulted when physically meeting their new “friend” offline.
It’s a scary story we hear time and time again, usually to warn teenagers against the risks involved with online social communities. Examples can be seen in the What’s Your Story video contest, where teenagers submit their own warnings and messages.
In this most recent real life warning however, an adult was targeted. A 25-year- old man, using the dating app Skout, was befriended by another man and arranged to meet at his home where he was allegedly bashed and robbed by two criminals.
It’s a wake-up call for everyone who uses any form of social media. You need to be careful about who you connect with, what information you share, and especially careful when you decide to meet your online “friend” offline.
Some words of advice:
- Don’t share detailed travel plans on social networks, and don’t post pictures and updates from overseas.
- If you’re going to meet someone for the first time that you met online, don’t do it alone and make sure it is in a public place with people around.
- Check your security settings and sharing status on networks, so that only very trusted people can see your details and comment on your posts.
- Don’t connect with strangers without thoroughly assessing, whether you actually want to or should be associated with them.
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.