It’s the digital version of boy-cries-wolf, and it’s a shame, because social network sites via computer or cellphone are a great way to broadcast a friend’s (or one’s own) real call for help. I remember a story a year or so ago about a journalist who was jailed in Egypt, shortly thereafter to be released because his text messages mobilized friends to get the US Embassy involved. I’m sure most social networkers are smart enough to distinguish between real calls for help and what happened the other day to friends of Bryan Rutberg, though they were scammed pretty convincingly. MSNBC tells of how Bryan’s profile was hacked so that a bulletin was sent to his friends saying he’s been held up at gunpoint overseas and had no money to get home. Responses to test messages sent to the person posing as Bryan were convincing enough that one friend sent money. I would definitely not hurt to sit down with social networkers at your house and go over three solid tips for social-networking malware avoidance from ComputerWorld.