Webmail and social media

This generally includes free webmail services such as Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail and social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Typical complaints received about these services are from users whose accounts were compromised and they lost access to their accounts.

The only way to regain control of a compromised account is to liaise with your provider. They will ask you to validate your identity by providing details used by you when creating your account.

Safeguard your account

Ways to safeguard these services can be found on each provider's website, they include:

  • Using strong passwords – include numbers, capitals and symbols.
  • Use a second strong password as an answer to your secret question.
  • Not sharing passwords or access to your accounts with anyone.
  • Have a different password for each social networking site so that if one password is stolen, not all of your accounts will be at risk.
  • Logging out of your accounts when using public or shared computers.

It is good practice to change your passwords regularly and ensure all software (including Anti-virus) on your computer is updated. For further information on guidelines for good password practices please go to www.auscert.org.au

Protect yourself from social networking scams

  • Keep your personal details personal - be careful what information you share and post online and with whom you share it – expect that people other than your friends can see it.
  • Make sure you don’t post information that would make you or your family vulnerable – such as your date of birth, address, information about your daily routine, holiday plans, or your children’s school.
  • Set your online social networking profiles to private, never give out your account details and regularly update your computer’s security software.
  • Don’t accept a friend request or a follow request from a stranger - people are not always who they say they are and the best way to keep scammers out of your life is to never let them in.
  • If you receive an unexpected request for money from what appears to be a friend or family member, contact your friend via another means to check the request is genuine before responding or providing money. Do not use any of the contact details in the message. If you send money and it is a scam, neither you nor your friend will ever see the money again. And finally never click on suspicious links on social networking sites – even if they are from your friends

For further information in relation to social networking scams please go to ScamNet.

Please note that WA Police do not investigate reports of unauthorised access to free online services such as social networking sites or webmail services.

SUPPORT:For assistance and counselling services please go to ScamNet - Help for Victims. If you need to speak to someone urgently call Lifeline on 13 11 14.