Don’t Read Terms, Just Agree

Terms of Service Resulting in Spam is Quick Way to Get Your Site in Trouble

stack of dictionaries

Yes, we know they are long. Yes, it can be as exciting to read as reading the dictionary.

Yes, most of the time they are pretty standard. But what about when they aren’t?

We’re talking about Terms and Conditions or Terms of Service. You know, those things you have to click “I agree” to before proceeding–on just about everything on the internet these days.

It is easy to get lazy. Especially when you have read a bunch of them and they all seem to be the same. Pretty much verbatim the same, in fact.

But there are people who, whether intentionally or not, will provide you with a ‘service’ that can actually harm your website. Sometimes you won’t even know it. But Google and other search engine bots might. They might actually interpret it as spam or something else that is against their policies–and that is a big problem.

And that’s where the problem begins.

Case in point is the 404 to 301 Plugin, but it isn’t the only one. And to their credit, the authors of this plugin have theoretically already fixed the issue that was causing the main problem with Google.

So, read the terms of service or terms & conditions. If you don’t understand what it means or the implications, then wait before you install. Talk to someone you trust who can advise you.

Mistakes can happen, even when you are careful. So monitor your website’s health. Keep backups in case you need to “roll back” your site to an earlier date. Consider a security software.

This isn’t meant to scare you, just alert and educate. You can’t be expected to know everything about your business and the internet, too. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a website. It just means sometimes we have to get help from someone else.

After all, just because I can watch a YouTube video on how to fix my car, paint my house, or trim the trees in my backyard, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a good idea. I might save myself some money–or I might make more money by focusing on my business and paying someone else to take care of these things.

Neither way is inherently right or wrong. Just be smart about it. Do you enjoy learning new things–go for it. But if you are frustrated or overwhelmed, or not having the success in your business that you want, and deserve, then focus on that.

Read the blog post by WordFence security for more info.

Facebook Dangers to Avoid

Facebook is a wonderful tool, but unfortunately there are people out there who are abusing it–and you can create SPAM and spread viruses if you are not aware of some of the issues that are going on. Wording on these posts varies…but when in doubt, don’t click it!

Recent developments to be aware of:

Private photos

There is a post that is circulating that claims your private photos are actually owned by Facebook and are being used in advertisements without your permission. Generally the post gives instructions on how to change your settings to prevent this.

First Facebook does not claim to own your photos and Facebook is not putting your private photos on ads without your permission.  It is possible that other people who are “friends” may be using your photos. Sure, you can make your photos “private” but the truth is, if a photo is in cyber-space (www. or mobile) it is never truly private.

BTW, this is an old post that has been circulating since 2009!

Bottom line: don’t put photos up on the internet that you wouldn’t want your mother/grandmother/daughter/boyfriend/husband/minister/boss/etc to see.

I Have Hacked–Check it Out

Don’t click the link and don’t approve the application and do not reply to the message. Instead let the person know they have an infected account by posting a (brand new) message on their wall. Let them know they are infected and they should remove the app and change their password. and BranchOut

These are SPAM application that look real, but that you should consider infections. The message will ask you to help them spread their profile or reputation or something similar.

If you get messages like these, do not click the Recommend button, do not visit your friend’s profile through that message.

Again, let your friend know by posting a NEW message on their wall that they have been infected, they should remove the app and change their password.

See What You Look Like When You’re Old

Some of us are old enough that there is no appeal to this sort of scam 😉 but this is an infection app. Do not click the link, don’t approve the application.

Once again, let your friend know by posting a NEW message on their wall that they have been infected, they should remove the app and change their password.

The best Facebook policy is to be safe rather than sorry. If you receive something that seems out of character from someone, go directly to their profile page (not through a link) and ask them if they actually sent a message out. If they have not, they will thank you for alerting them that they have been hacked.

If you find that you have been hacked, remove any applications that you recently allowed, change your password, and let your friends know to NOT click on the links that might have gone out.

Don’t let this keep you from enjoying Facebook for personal or business reasons! You just have to be smart about how you use it.

And it is better to wait before clicking unless it is an application that you are 100% confident in.

eMail Safety Tips for Local Businesses and Their Customers

Anyone with an email account, local businesses and your customers, is subject to a variety of email nuisances.

We’re all familiar with SPAM, those unwanted emails that arrive in your inbox and can take up your valuable time.

Other people seem to get their kicks out of spreading viruses and they can do this through attachments that when opened infect your computer.

Even worse than that are those nefarious folks who are goin’ Phishing.

Phishing is when someone sends an email that asks for personal information like financial or account information or personal details like birthdate or social security number. What makes Phishing so bad is that often these people are posing as reputable companies or even friends, which often leads people to think it is safe to respond.

If you get a request via email for any vital information, including passwords, account numbers or security questions do not respond and certainly do not provide private information. Anyone who actually SHOULD have that information will have it.

Sometimes the Phishing expedition is even more sly than that and they will actually not request information but include a link to their store or corporate website. If you click on that link you would then be redirected to a site where they can capture your keystrokes or gather information without your even realizing it.

Recently Facebook users were finding their accounts hacked and their photos placed on X-rated sites. The users had responded to a “friend” either on Facebook or via email who asked for private information.

If you receive an email that seems odd from a friend, family member or business that you frequent contact that person/business. If they have been hacked they will appreciate the heads up. But do not contact them by clicking “reply” instead give them a call or contact them through their official website, Facebook page or Twitter account–some alternate method you have to reach them.

Suspicious emails may be reported to the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) or

This can happen to anyone--a recent breach in the Epsilon database has affected customer records for numerous financial institutions and shopping sites including:  BJ’s, Barclays Bank of Delaware, Best Buy, Brookstone, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Disney Destinations, Home Shopping Network, JPMorgan Chase, Kroger (that’s King Soopers here in Colorado), LL Bean, Marriott Rewards, McKinsey & Co., New York & Co, Ritz-Carton Rewards, The College Board, TiVo, US Bank, Walgreens.

Defense Strategies:

Update your spyware, virus protection and spam filters and keep them current. This will help prevent these emails from getting through.

Back up your computer regularly. This is great protection for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that if you are the unfortunate victim of a computer hack you are better able to get your system back up and running quickly–an important point for businesses and home users.

Social Media Managers can clean up your email inbox to help keep your email safe. Not only will the SMM will get rid of SPAM for you, he/she will also be sure the most urgent emails are flagged for your attention. You can work with the SMM to set up procedures on how some emails are handled so you may be able to offload some correspondence and customer service issues to your SMM saving you a lot of time.

Summary of Best eMail Safety Tips:

  • Don’t click on links in emaileven if it appears to be coming from a reputable company. Instead use your search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) and contact the company that way.
  • Never provide passwords, social security numbers, account details or birthdates to people via email.
  • Don’t open attachments in email unless you are sure the email is real. If a friend never sends attachments be wary if you get one!
  • Report suspicious emails.
  • Keep spyware, virus protection and spam filters up to date
  • Back up your systems regularly.