Updates from December, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Wyze   

    Another security cam company has data breach 

    Another security cam company has data breach

    You may have recently seen that Ring cameras have not been having the best time of it in the news lately. If their cameras aren’t being hacked by internet pranksters, they’re making headlines for a potential data breach. Because of this, you may be considering using a Ring competitor to monitor your home. If you are, you may want to choose carefully as a Ring competitor just had a massive data breach that makes Ring’s look like a minor oversight in comparison.

    A cybersecurity firm recently announced that they found the security company Wyzed had exposed the personal information of over 2 million customers. Wyze themselves said the breach came about from a database error that led to the server’s security protocols being removed. The data was exposed from December 4th until the 26th when Wyze was notified of the breach. To Wyze’s credit, they rest all the security tokens for their customers requiring them to reset their login credentials.

    However, there is something in reports that should cause concern among Wyze’s users. The cybersecurity firm that found the breach has also claimed that data was being sent to the Alibaba Cloud in China. Wyze says they do not use Alibaba Cloud and that they do not share data with any government agencies. While Wyze may not be sending data to the Chinese government is it possible that they’re just taking it instead?

    If you are a current Wyze customer, you should be on the lookout for identity theft scams such as phishing attacks.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Ok Google (or Alexa), download some malware 

    Ok Google (or Alexa), download some malware

    The Better Business Bureau is warning about a scam that inevitably increases this time of year. If you received a new device like a Google Home or Amazon Echo for the holidays, you may want to be careful about how you activate the device. A number of scams are designed around these devices that can either cost you money or hijack your device. If you’re having trouble with the initial setup of the device, be careful how you proceed when it comes to contacting customer service. Some tech support avenues could lead you to have a device of disappointment.

    When activating your new device, you want to try to avoid phony customer service numbers. Many times, the first number you see on a web search for customer service may not be the official one. Instead, you could be talking with some unauthorized third-party service that may try to charge you for activating your device. Most devices should be activated for free once the purchase price for the device has been paid. Or, these scammers could be trying to get you to install malware on your new device that could lead to an invasion of your privacy.

    It doesn’t take much for a scammer to set themselves up on a web search page by purchasing a sponsored link. This could easily list them above the legitimate company on search results. The BBB recommends keeping a lookout for things like if the web address is misspelled or the website itself uses poor grammar. These are likely indicators that the information they’re providing you is false. You should also avoid apps that claim to be activation apps for your new device as these have also been used in the past to try to obtain personal information.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , pickpockets, , ,   

    Now you see your jewelry, now you don’t 

    Now you see your jewelry, now you don't

    If you’re planning on traveling this holiday season you may want to avoid San Francisco, or at least leave the jewelry at home. San Francisco police are warning visitors about a street-level scam that has seen its victims lose a lot of personal items. Con artists are said to be approaching victims by performing sleight of hand tricks. These deft deceivers then switch out your jewelry with fakes before absconding with the real thing. If you think that this only happens in movies, think again. You may also want to rethink the notion that it can’t happen to you.

    The virtual kidnapping scam is making the rounds again, this time in the Sedona area of Arizona. In case you’re not familiar with this scam it can be particularly disturbing to the victim. In it, the scammer will call their victim and claim that they’ve kidnapped one of their loved ones. Sometimes they’ll even have other people act as the alleged kidnapping victim. In reality, there has been no kidnapping and the scammers are trying to get the victim into an emotional state where they’ll pay a ransom without question. If you receive a call like this, it is recommended that you try to contact the person who the scammers claim is being kidnapped.

    Lastly, in Virginia, a man was targeted in a car wrapping scam. This is yet another variation of the phony check scam. The man was contacted by someone claiming to represent an energy drink company and they wanted to pay him for wrapping his car in advertisements. They sent him a check for $3,000 which he was supposed to deposit in his bank account, keep $500 and use the rest to buy the wrapping for his car. Thankfully, the man felt like something was wrong and had his bank investigate the check before depositing it. The check was a fake and if the man had deposited it and spent the money he would have had to pay the bank the difference back.

    Please keep in mind that while these scams may not be happening in your area right now, they could be showing up there soon.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check paper, , , ,   

    New scam makes victims print their own fake checks 

    New scam makes victims print their own fake checks

    Police in Iowa are reporting about a scam that combines a number of scams into one. If reports are to be believed, this scam combines the phony job scam with the phony check scam and the ubiquitous gift card scam. To make matters even worse, the scam even makes the victim of the scam print out their own phony check. If you’ll recall, if someone deposits a phony check into their bank account, they’ll be able to access the money before the bank finds out it’s fake. Once the bank finds out the check isn’t genuine, the person who deposited it into their bank account will be responsible for the money spent.

    The new scam works by scammers placing job ads for a personal assistant. Usually, these ads are aimed at college students who may not be wary of such scams. Once the victim has gotten the fake job, they’re paid with an online check. The victim is then instructed to buy check paper so they can print out the check they were just sent. They’re then instructed to deposit the phony check and then buy gift cards from various retail outlets including Amazon, WalMart, and Apple. The phony employer will tell the victim that they’re out of the country or give some other excuse as to why they can’t meet face to face.

    In any online transaction, whether it’s for a job or something else if you’re asked to deposit a check or purchase gift cards the odds are pretty great that you’re dealing with some form of con artist. It’s also recommended to be suspicious if someone instructs you to buy check paper. If something ever feels off about any kind of online transaction your instincts are probably right and you should walk away. If you ever receive an email like this you should contact your local police.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Ring denies massive data breach 

    Ring denies massive data breach

    Ring’s cameras have been in the news a lot lately. Sometimes it’s for good reasons like footage from a Ring camera led to the arrest or conviction of a criminal. However, most of the news seems to have been bad for Ring. Throughout 2019, there was a rash of news stories where hackers and internet pranksters would access someone’s Ring security camera to try to harass or scare a random family. Ring keeps claiming that these security breaches happen due to two-factor authentication not being enabled. But how can that explain close to 4,000 Ring account credentials being exposed on the web?

    BuzzFeed News reported on the alleged breach after they were contacted by a security researcher who found the exposed credentials online. When Ring was asked about the breach, they claimed that there was no breach at all. A Ring spokesperson claims that the credentials were harvested from other data breaches outside of Ring and that Ring customers were just using the same passwords and logins as their Ring service. While that’s statistically improbable, it could be true. Except, BuzzFeed showed the customer credentials to more security experts who noted that the credentials contained Ring specific data such as camera names that customers use. Reportedly, this kind of information can’t be gleaned from outside of Ring’s network.

    If you are a Ring customer, we would recommend changing your login and password as soon as possible and to enact two-factor authentication. With 2FA enabled, it will make it more difficult for someone to access your home cameras. Also, if you’re using the same login and password for other online accounts as you do with your Ring setup, you change them immediately as well. And never use the same password across multiple online accounts. Once one of those accounts become compromised, then they all do.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: barcode, , , ,   

    Why are scammers putting barcode stickers on gift cards? 

    Why are scammers putting barcode stickers on gift cards?

    With Christmas almost upon us this week, many people are most assuredly picking up gift cards as last-minute gifts. However, if shoppers aren’t careful, they could end up with more trouble than they bargained for. In the past, we’ve discussed the myriad of ways that scammers can alter gift cards so you end up paying the scammers rather than giving a gift to a loved one. Now, we can add one more scam to that list that could possibly fool any eagle-eyed shopper looking for a quick Christmas present.

    Police in Florida are reporting that shoppers in their area have purchased gift cards that have barcode stickers placed over the actual barcode on the back of the card. Scammers will do this to fool the shopper and the store to add the value of the purchase to the scammer’s card and not the shopper’s card. This means the scammer can collect the card’s value without being anywhere near the store. All the scammer needs to do is put the phony barcode sticker on a series of cards hanging on a store’s rack and they could rake in the cash virtually undetected. Meanwhile, the recipient of the card may not even notice until they try to use the card.

    Whenever you purchase a gift card from a store you should always examine it for any kind of tampering as this is just one way in which scammers try to steal from gift cards. Also, when possible, take a gift card from the middle or back of the pack as scammers tend to target the ones in the front so they can get their money as soon as possible. And while cash may seem a bit impersonal as a gift, you can always dress it up to seem more personal. Plus, a person can’t be scammed out of cash as easily as a gift card.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Puppy mill dyes dog to disguise breed 

    Puppy mill dyes dog to disguise breed

    This seems to be the season where scammers will go to extreme lengths to fleece you. Just recently, we posted about a rental scammer who went to great lengths to disguise his identity. Apparently, these extreme scams aren’t just limited to real estate. Several families in Southern California are suing an alleged puppy mill for selling terminally ill puppies. However, it’s not just the fact that the backyard breeders were selling sick animals but it was also the way in which they tried to disguise the breed of the dog that left at least one family feeling heartbroken.

    One family involved in the lawsuit have an 11-year-old son who wanted a Goldendoodle puppy. He worked hard helping out at his father’s business to earn the money to buy the puppy. He found the perfect puppy through an online ad. Sadly, a few days after the family got the puppy home, the puppy started getting sick. When they took the puppy to the vet it was diagnosed with the deadly parvovirus. The puppy had to be put down. It turned out that the puppy wasn’t even a Goldendoodle. When the family washed the puppy, red dye washed off of the puppy. They were even told the puppy was a female and it turned out to be male.

    This story should serve as an example of how many online ads for puppies are scams and how little these so-called breeders care about the animals they’re selling. As always, we recommend adopting a puppy or even an older dog from your local shelter. If there’s a specific breed you’re looking for, only deal with licensed breeders. Look into what needs and behavioral patterns the dogs have and research the breeder as well to make sure they are ethically raising their animals. If a living creature such as a puppy is being sold at a discounted rate, there’s usually a reason why the animal is being sold for so cheap and it’s never good.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , dumspter diving, , trash, Wall Street Journal   

    Are your Amazon shipments delivered from the dumpster? 

    Are your Amazon shipments delivered from the dumpster?

    An untold number of people have probably ordered their Christmas presents from Amazon this year. However, did you know that not all the products on Amazon are actually sold by Amazon? Around half of all the products sold on Amazon are sold by third-party sellers. Some of these sellers are well-known companies who see Amazon as an additional venue for their products. Some sellers are operating out of their home. While many of these home sellers are offering products that have nothing wrong with them, some sellers have procured their stock through less than ethical means.

    Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an expose detailing how there are many Amazon sellers who source their stock by digging through trash. Many of these so-called dumpster divers raid the trash bins of known retailers to claim whatever products they can clean up and sell on Amazon. These can often include food and medicinal items. The WSJ was able to find items in the dumpster of a Trader Joe’s which they cleaned up and listed for sale on Amazon. They also quickly bought the items themselves to make sure no consumers bought the items. The orders went through as if the items were brand new.

    The problem with this practice besides the obvious sanitation issue is that since Amazon does all the shipping with its branded packaging it appears like these items are coming from Amazon directly. Some of the vendors even list these reclaimed products as new. After the WSJ published their report, Amazon said that they have changed their policy about items that have come from the trash. However, what kind of oversight is going into this new policy? How will Amazon be able to detect if third-party vendors are selling items taken from the trash?

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on December 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Rental scammer goes to great lengths to fleece victim 

    Rental scammer goes to great lengths to fleece victim

    When we talk about rental scams we usually give advice on how to spot one. In a typical rental scam situation, we warn our readers to never agree to rent any property sight unseen and never wire money or pay with gift cards. But what if it’s an atypical rental scam? Those may be harder to spot if a scammer is willing to go the extra mile to ripoff unsuspecting victims. That’s exactly what happened to one family in Ohio when she rented a property that she thought was perfect for her.

    The mother of five found an online listing for a home for rent in the Columbus area. She met with a man claiming to be the landlord face to face. He reportedly even had the keys to the home and showed her around. Legal documents were signed and money changed hands. Two days after the family moved in someone else came into the home and they had just rented the property from the legitimate landlord. While the fake landlord presented identification and contact information, the addresses were fake. The driver’s license the fake landlord presented to the victim listed an address where someone else lived. Here’s another example of an elaborate rental scam.

    People who find themselves in a situation like this are often in a desperate search to find housing quickly for whatever reason. This leaves them vulnerable to scammers since they’re looking for shelter fast. In order to avoid this type of scam, even with elaborate scams like this one, research is key. Take the time to thoroughly vet the property. try doing a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. Check with the county assessor’s office or website to find out who the true landlord is. That is public information that’s available to anyone.

    It’s better to put in the extra time so you don’t end up losing money and a roof over your head.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: free gas, hitman, , ,   

    When the hitman texts 

    When the hitman texts

    In Maine, police are warning residents about a scam involving text messages. In this scam, the victim receives a text stating that they’re being targeted by a hitman. The text goes on to say that if the victim doesn’t respond in 48 hours they will be killed. The report doesn’t entail what the endgame of this scam is but we would imagine that it’s designed to extort money from its victims. Most people living in the US don’t ever have to worry about being the target of an actual hitman. It’s also unlikely that an actual hitman would ever divulge his intentions through texting. If you were to receive one of these texts you should not respond and contact your local police.

    In Ohio, the local branch of the Better Business Bureau is reporting about an online shopping scam that could cost you a lot of money. In this scam, a shady website will instruct you to pay through PayPal. You’ll then receive an email with your shipping information like you normally would. However, the shady merchant has changed the delivery address. This way it looks like the merchandise has been delivered, just not to you. According to the BBB, PayPal has been reluctant to issue any refunds because the packages have all been marked as delivered.

    In the Nashville, Tennessee area, residents there have said they’ve been seeing social media messages that promise them free gas if they text a certain phone number. People who have texted the number have reported that they’ve received a message that their phones had been hacked. While free or discounted gas promotions aren’t unheard of, they’re usually more trouble than they’re worth. However, just because a message is circulated on social media, that doesn’t make it true no matter how good the offer may sound.

     
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