Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Phishing Comes to Second Life

For a long time, SL has been free of viruses and malware.  It still is...but there are two vicious scams out there on the grid, and both of them are on the rise.

I've mentioned the first scam before: Account Debiting Objects.  It's possible to script an object to take $L from its owner.  If you are given (or buy) such an object, when you rez it in world, it sends you a message:
Some objects, like this rental box, need that permission, in order to give your customers refunds.  But if a strange object sends you this request, don't click Grant!  It can then suck all the money out of your account.  It may not even be a strange object, but something that you purchased.  If you have ANY doubts about why an object is requesting access to your account, deny the request, delete the object or take it back into your inventory, and contact the object's creator to discuss it.

The second scam is fairly new to SL, but it's been around the web for years:  phishing.  Someone can send you a local chat, IM, group chat, on a notecard...and if you click the link, it takes you to what looks to the casual eye like a normal Second Life website sign in page.  But, if you enter your user name and password, the scammer has them, and can then log in as you.  He can pay all your money to another of his accounts, or change your password, or even use your account to commit serious Terms of Service violations.  This type of phishing scam is becoming more common lately, possibly because we don't expect to encounter phishing on the grid.  But you should be careful of ANY link you click on, especially if it's given to you by a stranger.
Check the URL of strange websites.  This is the Genuine Article
There's a third scam that I should mention.  If you browse YouTube for "Second Life Cheat Codes", you'll find a lot of videos that seem to be advertising a program that will let you "create" any amount of $L you want.  Don't fall for this one.  They don't work.  If they did, LL would be all over them with lawsuits, since $L represent, potentially, real money.  At best, they're a simple fraud.  At worst, they'll infect your computer with malware.

Be careful out there, OK?

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