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Schools are breaking up for the summer, but how are we keeping the kids entertained? Especially when the weather outside is so unpredictable? The answer is, that this year they’ll probably be entertaining themselves…online

Children are spending more and more time on the family PC either chatting with friends on Bebo, MySpace and Facebook, downloading music onto their iPod or watching videos on YouTube. Although this is often perceived as harmless fun, it appears that kids are unaware that they could be putting themselves and their parents at risk to online fraud.

Bebo is the UK’s most popular social networking site for children and teenagers. Almost a third of its users are under 18.* However this popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed to the online mafia. Cyber criminals are now starting to use these sites to steal people’s financial information and account details.

These criminals use cunning tactics to persuade website visitors to download a certain program under the false pretence that they will need it to view online videos or download music for example. Once the link to the program is downloaded, a piece of spyware is installed on the user’s PC. This enables criminals to access the computer remotely and to spy on that person’s online behaviour, which means personal emails can be stolen as well as online banking log-in details and account details.

One scam to watch out for is the ‘Harry Potter Is Dead’ scam. Online criminals have been spreading this rumour together with their malicious program. These criminals are capitalising on the upcoming release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on July 21st to spread their malicious codes to the public. This was not the first Harry Potter-related scam fans encountered recently: just a couple of weeks ago a Trojan-carrying email promising free premiere tickets for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie was discovered.

“Parents need to be aware that giving their children access to the home PC may open it up to spyware, spam and other web threats, leaving their personal or financial information up for grabs,” says Ian Yarlott, online security expert from Trend Micro.

One way families can rid their computer of any spyware or other computer nasties is to visit Trend Micro’s Housecall service and clean their machine for free. Visit www.trendmicro.com/housecall.

Otherwise, to hear more about the dangers online and how parents can protect them and their families from becoming the victims of online identity fraud please contact the Trend Micro team at GBC on 020 8322 1922 or trendmicro@gbc.co.uk.

* ComScore study in June 2007 revealed that many of the sites with particular appeal to the 15 to 24 age segment fall into the Social Networking category, including Facebook, Bebo and Tagged.
* Nielsen research in June 2007 has shown that Bebo is most popular with children and teenagers. 32% of its audience is under 18, compared to 14% for MySpace and just 5% for Facebook.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Onechocolate Communications in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Women's Interest & Beauty, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.