The friendly strangers were out in force today on MySpace. In about 40 minutes’ time, I received 7 New Friend Requests. As a matter of fact, 3 of them arrived simultaneously. The senders (apparently anyway) fell mostly within a certain demographic range. All were white. Almost all were aged 18 to 21 (except for one who claimed to be 30). Most declined to say where they lived, listing only “United States.” They seemed designed to cover a wide cross-section of types to maximize the chances that one might get friended by me – there was the teenage boy into classic rock, the serious-looking girl who designed her page in girly pinks and flowers and quoted Bible passages, and the buxom, falling-out-of-her-top girl who talked about how horny she was for both sexes and offered a link to nude photos of herself.
It should come as no surprise that I denied all of those friend requests. I also took a pass on the link to Buxom Gal’s gallery. Still, some questions remain –
When I first saw this type of friend request a while back, I figured it was from some real teenager who was in, perhaps, a contest with their friends to see who could amass the longest list of MySpace friends. But as these requests proliferated, it became clear that this was part of a larger scam. The question is – what are they after? Does my friending them automatically give them access to private information about me, or allow them to hack my information? Or is it less direct – being friended means that they can then get me to click on links that will scam me? What is the game here? And how do YOU deal with it?