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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Con Jobs

There's an old saying..."If it looks too good to be true, it probably is."  And yet, every day in Real Life, on the internet, and here in Second Life, people fall for various scams and con games.  Don't be one of them!  Read on...

Phishing.  Phishing is a scam in which you are invited to click a link to a web site that seems to be one thing, but is really a trick to get you to divulge important information, like your password or an account number.  Most of us are aware of this in our normal online lives, and know better than to click a link in an email that seems to come from our bank or our credit card company.  But people fall for phishing scams all the time in Second Life, because we aren't expecting a link that appears in local chat, group chat, or an IM to lead to a phishing site.  Treat ALL links that you are given, through whatever means, with caution.  There are many signs that give away phishing scams, but perhaps the most common is that the URL does NOT begin with "https", but with "http".  Any legitimate Linden Lab web site will be secure, and will have the form https://id.secondlife.com/

Besides beginning with the secure https designator, a legitimate LL website will have the domain "secondlife.com" somewhere in it.  If it has any other domain, like "2ndlife.com.ru" (a made-up example), don't go there.

URLs can be masked, though, so a link might look legitimate but still lead you to a bad web site.  Before entering any data, check the actual URL once you are on the web site.  Just how you do this depends on your browser.  It's always best never to click links you get in the wild at all, and browse manually to the site the link claims to be from.

There is a great deal more information on the web about phishing and how to keep from getting hooked.  Do a web search!

Free $Lindens. There are some Second Life groups or organizations that hold out the prospect of making "free" linden dollars.  Some of these ask you to teleport around and visit certain merchants in return for money.  Others ask you to complete various surveys elsewhere on the internet.  The survey type operations are a good way to get your computer infected with adware, spyware, or malware.  Furthermore, I have never met anyone who said they actually got the free $L they were promised.

Bargain $Lindens.  Some sites offer to sell you $L for almost half off the price you'd get through the Lindex (the official Linden Exchange, found on the Second Life website or through your viewer's "Buy $L" button).  The exchange rate for $L varies up or down by a small amount, but is usually very close to $L250 = $1.00 USD.  There are some third party exchanges out there, but unless they are on the Authorized $L Reseller list, don't buy $L from them.  They could be a phisher or a thief.  Even if they are not, LL can terminate your Second Life account if you buy or sell $L from an unapproved source.

Remember...any $L reseller has to buy their $L from somewhere, and ultimately all $L come from LL.  If they are offering to sell to you at far less than LL's price, you have to ask yourself how they plan to stay in business.  In most cases, they don't...they plan to take your money and run!

Further Reading:

Linden Lab's Information on Phishing

Test Your Phishing Knowledge

Ripoff Report (Note: controversial scam reporting site.  Use or believe at your own discretion.)


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