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There’s no question that millions of people are updating their statuses, loading pictures or taking videos of their most prized life moments and posting them on various social media sites. While Californians want to protect their personal information and lives, many choose to share these intimate details with their friends and family online. Unfortunately, this leaves a perfect avenue for criminals to gain access to private files and use them for purposes that may not always be good.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, reports of criminal activity through social media have increased nearly four times during the last five-year period. Although new methods of fraudulent activity are being identified at a high rate, there are some common ways that deceptive people can gain access to user information.

Pharming is just one example of criminal activity that can take place through social media websites. This occurs when a person clicks on a website and he or she is redirected to a fraudulent site that is designed to gain access to confidential information. Similarly, doxing is a method that people use to obtain personal data, including pictures, account information and other details, without the person’s permission.

The Complex also reported that cybercrimes, such as extortion and electronic harassment, are filtered through social media sites. Users should use caution when posting their personal information online. People may want to avoid sharing data that involves their confidential account numbers and other details that they do not want to get into the hands of others. 

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