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File Sharing

How the scam works:

You have probably come across several file sharing websites for music or movies. The pages look good graphically, but it’s usually a long way before you can see or hear the content, and most times you never get that far. The scam comes in three forms.

Scenario 1. You are required to pay a monthly fee to access the content – which is fine; the scam occurs when, in order to see or hear the content, you also need a certain program or software to unlock it, which can only be purchased from the same site.

Scenario 2. The files are poor quality or play only half way - they can only be seen in full quality if, again, you cough up some money.

Scenario 3. If the file sharing is free, several files are infested with malware, spyware or other software that can contaminate your computer or gain access to your personal files, including key-logger (software which records whatever you are typing on your keyboard) or an auto-calling software, which can affect you if you have your computer connected to the phone. The software is programmed to call hot-lines automatically as soon as you download it, raising your phone bill to thousands of dollars.

How to avoid:

Make sure you download files only from reputable and legal sources. However, with the advancement of the technology it is hard to keep up with all the new software available out there. Check the name of the website/software you want to use on several forums, see what users have to say about it. Research online by typing the name followed by the word "virus" or "malware". Doing a little homework goes a long way.

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