Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Re - Cynthia Osokogu - Safety Tips for Social Media

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I read this report of the murdered Cynthia Osokogu, may her soul rest in peace, and chills went over me. She went missing in July and her body was found last week in a Festac Morgue after she had been strangled to death by her Facebook friends and abandoned in a hotel. Several people, including those who may have killed her, have been arrested. Hopefully, they will reveal details of their methods so others can beware of criminals who utilize internet anonymity to perpetuate atrocities on innocent people.

Personally, I love social networking, being a bit shy myself and finding that I needed the grassroots publicity after choosing indie writing as a career. I also love meeting the people I get to know on the internet and exploring some of our similarities and differences in lively discussions. I am equally one of those, getting to over 15% of American couples, who met their significant others online. When I blogged earlier about online romance becoming lasting love, I actually listed internet privacy and safety as an advantage, albeit a double edged one to be careful of.

In all honesty, it wasn't as if I was paying to much attention to these things when I met Atala. Luckily, we had known each other anonymously for a year by then, and he had been a member of the forum for years before that. Because we met on a message board, there were several other people involved so I got to see a dynamic version of him just like in real life. And because I admired him, I went through some of his previous posts in the archives to check for character and consistency. I wanted to know what he had said to other people, even before I joined the site.

I use this method even today on Facebook, and sometimes on Twitter. When I add people, or when some people try to chat me up, I take those few seconds or minutes to visit their profile and see who they say they are, and what their conversations with others are. This determines my interaction with them, and in some cases whether I need to block them. There are red flags for me, people who do not even bother to check my profile before chatting with me, those who call me queen, baby, sexy, madam, or anything other than my name. I am very careful of sycophants and flattery.

I could go on and on but to recap, the safety tips I consider crucial for meeting people through social networking and online dating are as follows;

- Do not believe whatever people say online, especially about themselves.

- Do not give out your personal information, like address, phone number, BB Pin, what you do, etc, until you're comfortable.

- Even emails are private, especially if they contain your real name or birthday. Continue using the messaging service of FB, DM on Twitter, or private messages on a website or dating service.

- Be honest. This makes it easier to stick to your convictions and let some people go, especially when they begin to exhibit some strange characteristics or trickery.

- Do not be embarrassed or bullied into things you don't want to do

- Do not be hurried, take your time to really know who you're dealing with. Look through their past posts or status updates, if they flirt or use inappropriate language, beware. Google them if you need to.

- Talk to other people about the serious people you meet online, especially with online dating, discuss what they do and say to you. You might be able to get a better perspective, in case you're already emotionally involved.

- When you want to meet new people, do it with a friend you already have or in a very public place. If someone insists on meeting you alone, at their house, or sleeping over at yours, that is a red flag.

- Let other people know when you're meeting someone new. Tell them the person's name, and as much information as you have including emails exchanged, text or chat records. Let the person you're meeting know you're doing this.

- Do not be coerced into helping anyone break the law, all in the name of love or romance. If you have proof someone you know online is scamming or defrauding others, don't keep quiet because he/she is not doing it to you yet. Report them to the authorities.

Let's be careful peeps. What other tips do you use to keep safe online?


  1. After reading this story of Cynthia, I am glad I always ignore most chats on facebook whenever am online, particularly when it's from people I don't know personally, guys mainly, even females. If you chat me up and I check your profile and I can't see anything meaningful, I don't even bother responding. People aren't all that they seem to be online. It's sad, the internet has a created a form of "false" trust. You can't trust people completely. Just because they are friendly online, doesn't mean they can't hurt you. People please be careful....

  2. you are very correct, i use this tips too...God bless ya

  3. Very good tips MS Myne. I am not trying to desecrate on the memories of the dead but I think it’s very easy for people to let their guard down when there are promises of favours involved. There is this “mugu” mentality that is prevalent with gen y and we are not quick to question when people come with promises of favours and all.
    I think never expecting and never taking favours from people you have never met is extremely important, that way one isn’t compromised or forced into thinking the favour has to be repaid.

  4. I am so wary of these thngs, so over-wary in fact. I never ever add people on FB I dont know personally. I never do friends of friends if I dont actually know you.
    And my driving force with these social media is this: am not on them to gather numbers, the relationships have to be is not about having one thousand or more 'friends' or meaningful is the relationship? On BM, people randomly ask for PIN, how? I dont want you on my BBM if I dont kow you.
    The case of this pretty lady is so so tragic and so sad.
    Safety is the key and the watchword. Thanks for reiterating again, Myne.

  5. Thanks for sharing this Myne, it is very important to learn to be safe online.

  6. Stop looking for love in all the wrong places. Growing up, i was told to beware of strangers, we have to upgrade that moral instruction...strangers on social media, be careful who you follow and how you follow. Love yourself first, and protect yourself.

  7. wow it seems u're repeating my tips too ... tanx though.. God bless u

  8. The internet is a good tool but one has to use it wisely. many people are pretending to be who they are not. Shine your eyes o.

  9. I never add people I do not know or have never met to my twitter or facebook accounts because, I might tweet personal things like where I am and how I am enjoying what I am doing where I am doing it lol

    I ignore msgs frm strangers (esp from those that "are looking for friendship)and never follow-up on those who send me their numbers and (expect me to call them)

    There is nothing more dangerous than agreeing to stay in the house of a stranger so far you guys haven't met there is need to studying them before letting them into your home

  10. oh yes! meet in a VERY PUBLIC PLACE!

  11. This is real sad may she rest in perfect peace. My facebook is personal not business/blog related etc and for that reason if i don't know you personally i am not adding you it doesn't matter that i met you for five minutes at a friend's party i am not adding you period. I know each of my 300plus friends personally and have known them for a number of years as well i only add new friends after i have known them for a certain period. My twitter on the other hand is more for fun and open i don't post any personal photos or info on there i stopped posting photos on FB too when they changed their privacy settings making it possible for third parties to download your photos. I once had to tell off a much older male colleague for adding my 17 year old female cousin (we monitor her account for her safety)People really have to be careful online there are crazy people out there...

  12. I was so so sad when I read about Cynthia. We, females especially, need to be really careful.

    For me, while I do add people I don't know personally on Facebook and Twitter, I never share anything personal on those platforms. No locations or 'checking in', no phone numbers. I don't call or add people on BBM unless I know them. I never enable chat on Facebook, so no random people can start bothering me. The only time I actually went out to meet a group of people I'd found on Facebook, it was in a very public place and I'd really checked them out properly (and even that was in my more carefree days; not likely to happen now).

  13. Whenever I sense a red flag, I block the person immediately.

  14. Great tips... God bless you, Myne

  15. Your suggest not believing everything people say online, I will include the story about this babe as well. I've heard too many versions that the only constant thing was she died.

    Either she met them on Facebook, Blackberry, old friends, or they found her body in her Hotel or road side, fact is there are people who know how to manipulate trust regardless you knew them for a day or years.

    People should STFU and stop portraying an egocentric attitude believing it can never happen to them. That is even the most important factor to deceive 'em.

  16. Myne at it again!! this is very deep and profound. thanks for sharing.

  17. It's a pity the girl is dead and can't answer our questions. I quess there are different versions of the story surrounding her death but the basi is that she met them on fb. There is no harm in meeting new people but why did she not meet them in a public place. Didn't she tell anyone where she was going to? Why didn't she go with any of her friends? Like I said, we have questions and we might never get the answers but people should learn and be wise. May she find rest.

  18. True talk Myne,Its sad we have to learn from her story.

  19. The last 5 points are very crucial. Some people hurry into it and by so doing, they fail to share with anyone... Even when the person says you should not share with anyone, that's a red flag already. May God help us.

    - LDP

  20. It could have happenned to any of us o, these tips are something to bear in mind.

  21. Is unfortunate cythian is gone and she is a friend to my younger sis,and she came for my 2 child birthday at milliluim park,I was told she is into model and was called by her killers dat she should com dat they hav modeling business for her,is unfortunate were was her family,u meann she did not tel her love one were she was going to,we'll dis is a lesson for everybody to learn we learn from our mistake and people mistake cythian is gone she is d only one dat could hav explain what realy went wrong,parents let follow our childern wit prayers,thank u my sister inlwaw for ur beautiful advise.may d almighty grant her family peace

  22. God knows I have met tonnes of people online... intact I was the chief of organising meet ups with strangers on my man group i created in those days while I was in a levels... this could happen to anyone... intact a couple of my best friends today I met online!!

    we really need to be careful and I know my tone will be different to my children and others looking online for friends and love.. we all need to be extra careful!

    I hate men calling me pet names! You are not my husband or bf or anyone worthy of calling me that.. keep it to yourself. it really irks me! lol


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