Social media has helped make the world a much smaller place. You can connect any time of day with someone in New York or London. You can hop onto Google Maps to see how traffic is in Toronto, while sipping tea in China. Technology has definitely enhanced the way we operate, but there are also downsides.

One of these is that an individual with dubious intentions can create an account and pretend to be someone you know. They can spin tales and convince you that they are the actual person you believe them to be. Before you know it, you are reminding them of the days you spent laughing at high school, and you reflect on what life is like now as an adult – while they simply go along, agreeing with what you say. You tell them about your family gatherings, your friends’ nights out, your colleagues’ latest antics, and the latest gossip.

They only share minimal information with you but keep on prompting you for updates. Before you know it, they are blackmailing you for money because they have all the incriminating information that you shared with them during your online interactions.

No matter how convincing a person may sound, you need to do your homework to ensure that the people you’re connecting with are who they say they are. If you get suspicious at any point, rather trust your gut and stop communicating with them. And if they’ve threatened you or caused any harm, make sure you report the online crime.