Believe it or not, social networking safety used to be easy. You put your computer in a high traffic area. As a parent you monitor what your kids are doing and saying online. Or just take away internet privileges from your kid’s altogether.

There is a bigger problem at hand now. And it is growing at a cancerous rate. The problem? You. The adult, the parent, the guardian. More and more adults are turning to social networking like Facebook and online dating sites every day. Our false sense of security is draining our money and breaking our hearts.

It seems that the parents are more trusting online than the kids and teenagers. They feel that the same rules the kids have to follow don’t apply to them because they are more mature and can spot a scam when they see one.

When is the last time you saw a 20 year old fall victim to a Nigerian email scam? “We will give you 1,000,000 if you just send us $1,000 to cover the costs of transferring the funds to your name. We can even take credit cards.” And yet, the older generations fall for it time and time again.

Online dating sites have become a target for scammers from all over the world. Build the trust of a single person and then scam them for money. You hear or read about it in the news all the time and you think, “that will never happen to me”. I am sure that is what they were thinking too.

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to take away from the dangers focused towards minors. Child predators are everywhere. But what I do hope to see is that some of us adults follow guidelines and rules just like our kids do.

Rule #1: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This works in real life as well as the internet.

Rule #2: You do not have a distant relative you never heard of living in South Africa who just died and left you 500 acres of gold filled mines. That would be nice, but I’m sure you would have been trying to mooch money from them long before they died.

Rule #3: Keep your information private when on sites like Facebook and MySpace. Only allow those you have accepted as your friends see what you have posted. This will prevent those bad guys from researching your life so they can pretend they know you.

Rule #4: Some people may not believe that there is love at first site, but I do. However, I do not believe in love at first type. If someone from a dating site claims they love you after a week of emailing back and forth, they are not real. They are scamming you for something. Although it is fun to play along and find out what they are trying to get from you and waste their time. But be warned. THEY ARE NOT WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE.

Rule #5: Put yourself in the mindset that if you put something online, it will never go away.

Rule #6: Probably the most important rule – USE COMMON SENSE! Don’t do dumb things online.

Your best friend on the internet can help you sort out if someone is trying to scam you. It’s called Google. So much money and heartache could be saved if we just do a little research. Following these 6 rules will help keep you, your kids and your money safe from online social networking threats.

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