Neopets is a website for kids where they can adopt these "cyber-pets" which I guess is a cool thing if you are a kid. You take care of it and it grows and does stuff. Most of the kids are between 8 and 12 years old, but some are as young as 6. There are over 25 million users on this site!
Media giant Viacom (MTV) owns the site where hackers have taken advantage of kids to steal identities. They send the kids an an email or message telling them there is a secret site where they can get a magic paint brush to change their pet and not cost them points.
The kids go to the secret site and never get the magic paintbrush. The scam site works by getting mom and dads important information off the computer.
This is a good (or bad) example of Malware. This is the stuff I have mentioned in many of my blogs and on KGAL's Tech Talk. This bad stuff gets loaded on the computer when the kids go to the infected "secret" web site.
This is another great example where parents have to be vigilant in watching what their kids do on the Internet. It is also a great case for having up to date Internet Security/Anti Virus software and making sure it is constantly being updated with the latest definitions.
You know if a huge money making company like Viacom and MTV are doing something free for kids, you can be assured that there is some marketing ploy behind the whole thing anyway.
As an old Sergeant used to say on Hill Street Blues, "Hey, let's be careful out there!"