Updates from January, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FedEx, , , ,   

    FedEx text scam is more dangerous than you think! 

    FedEx scam is more dangerous than you think!

    A number of reports went out nationwide yesterday about a scam that’s appearing in the text messages of many Americans. As you can see by the graphic above, the text claims to be from FedEx telling you that you have an incoming package that requires you to submit your delivery preferences. The text then provides you a link to click on. While this appears to be just a ‘normal. phishing scam on the surface, this particualr scam goes much deeper than that and can end up costing you a lot of money.

    If you were to click on the link in the phony text you would be taken to a site that looks like Amazon but isn’t. The fake Amazon site then asks you to fill out a customer service survey in order to claim a prize. However, to collect the prize you need to cover the cost of shipping and for that, you need to provide your financial information. Yet, it doesn’t stop there. On top of everything else, by providing your payment information you’re also signing up for a subscription service that will charge you close to $100 a month for products related to the ‘prize’ you chose. We’ve previously discussed subscription scams here.

    If you receive this text, delete it immediately. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t click the link nor should you respond to it. While FedEx does offer a service to text message you about the arrival of your packages you have to sign up for that service. FedEx will never send unsolicited text messages. If you are expecting a package to be delivered from FedEx or any other courier and you are concerned about the delivery, always use the courier’s website or official app to see if there have been any actual problems with delivery.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Personal Data Protection Fund, , US Trading Commission   

    Can you get paid for data breaches? 

    Can you get paid for data breaches?

    Sadly, data breaches are just a part of our way of digital life anymore. It’s not a matter of if some of our data will be exposed, it’s a matter of when. Some of the more egregious data breaches have even landed companies in legal trouble such as the infamous Equifax leak. Some of these have resulted in class action lawsuits which while costing the companies large sums of money, consumers affected by the leaks can only claim a very small part of that settlement. Some scammers are now using that fear of exposure and a little bit of consumer greed to try to trick people into giving up their personal information.

    Security experts Kaspersky Labs recently came across a website that promises to send you money if your data has been exposed in one of these corporate leaks. The website claims to be from the ‘Personal Data Protection Fund’ that was created by the ‘US Trading Commission’. There is no governmental office known as the US Trading Commission. The site asks you to enter your information including your Social Security information to see if your data has been leaked. Of course, it tells you that it has and promises you a payout of $2,500. All you have to do is give them your bank number in order to collect the payout. As you might have expected, there is no payout and now some overseas scammer has all the information they need to steal your identity or worse.

    As always, you should never give your personal or financial information to just anyone who asks on the internet. Don’t be lured in by promises of money where you don’t have to do anything for it. Also, the government doesn’t hand out payments for people who have had their data breached. If you’re afraid your data may have been breached you can check at haveibeenpwned.com which is one of the more trustworthy places online.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Your Microsoft license is not expiring 

    Your Microsoft license is not expiring

    Last week, we discussed how Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system was no longer going to be supported with security updates. While not upgrading would leave your computer vulnerable to attacks ultimately, it’s not the end of the world. Unless you didn’t back up your files. Not surprisingly, scammers are using such an innocuous opportunity to try to trick you into paying them for services that don’t exist, giving up control of your computer, or giving them personal or financial information. They’re also doing this by disguising themselves as Microsoft employees to try to gain your trust.

    This scam is a variation of the tech support scam but they’re using the concern about Windows 7 no longer being supported to scare you into believing whatever they have to say. Scammers will call people at random posing as Microsoft employees telling them that their Microsoft license is about to expire. They’ll offer several solutions on how to fix this non-existent problem. They’ll either ask you to pay them to ‘renew’ the license or they’ll ask you for remote access of your computer. The remote access will give them entry into your computer that will allow them to either go through your personal files or possibly install ransomware or malware.

    Once you purchase a computer that comes with Windows or have purchased a copy of Windows from either Microsoft or an authorized vendor, you’ve already paid for the license. There is no annual license renewal or any additional fees like that. That’s not even taking into account that Microsoft never calls any of its users. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook or any other large company to tell you that something is wrong with your device, hang up. They are never who they say they are and do not have your best interest in mind.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The email scam that will scare your friends! 

    The email scam that will scare your friends!

    Recently, a man from Amarillo, Texas started getting messages and texts from friends and colleagues asking him if he was ok. They were concerned for his well-being after they received an email that said the man was in a serious car accident that left him with spinal injuries. Thankfully, the man was fine but understandably confused why he was receiving so many messages about his health status. It turns out that his email account had been hacked and emails had been sent to everyone in his contact list. So why would a scammer send an email like this to everyone the victim knows?

    Well, it’s the second part of the email that gives away the scam. After telling people that the victim had been in a serious wreck the email goes on to ask for money. Not just money but gift cards. The victim’s friends first received an email that said: “Hi, I need to ask a favor, can you write me back.” If someone responded to the first email they would get the second email that told them about the fake accident. In that same email, they were asked to buy an Amazon gift card that’s intended for the victim’s niece’s birthday. Here is the email’s contents in full…

    I need to get an Amazon gift card for my niece, it’s her birthday, but I can’t do this now because I was involved in a car crash a few days ago, I have fractured my lumbar L1 and fractured my wrist. I’ll pay you back as soon as I’m back. Kindly let me know if you can handle this.

    It’s unknown if any of his contacts fell for the scam but they did the right thing when they received it. They contacted the man to see if the email was legitimate. That is exactly what you should do if you receive an email like this, preferably through another means of communication like text messaging. If you reply to the email, the victim might not receive it if their account has been hijacked. To better protect yourself from having your email account hijacked we recommend enabling two-factor authentication on all of your email accounts. Not only that, but your accounts should be protected with their own individual passwords that aren’t used on other accounts.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mothers lounge,   

    Alleged gift card scam targeting expectant mothers again 

    Gift card scam targeting expectant mothers again

    We originally bought this story to your attention back in November (3rd paragraph). Back then, a number of expectant mothers received a number of gift cards in the mail that included what looked like a handwritten note congratulating them. Some women who weren’t expecting had also received these gift card packages. The notes were all signed by a ‘Jenny B.’ All the gift cards were actually coupons for the same online retailer. It was alleged back in November that the retailer was using shady business practices such as intentionally changing prices depending on what coupon was being used or charging exorbitant shipping fees.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, these faux handwritten gift card bundles have returned and are once again being sent to women whether they are pregnant or not. From all reports, it seems the method has not changed at all as the cards are signed by Jenny B. and all appear to be handwritten even though they are said to be actually computer-generated. They even have ink smudges printed on the card intentionally to make it appear more like a handwritten note. And once again, if the gift cards/coupons are used, the shipping cost is said to wipe out any potential savings.

    The company that’s running this campaign is called Mothers Lounge and sometimes goes by the name ThoughtfulGiftCards.com. The BBB has given Mothers Loung an F rating not only for the gift card campaign but the BBB has also received reports of the goods being sold being allegedly substandard or counterfeit. Mothers Lounge has said that they only send out these packets to people who have signed up for maternity deals and coupons through a third-party marketing company. So be careful who you give your information to as one vendor could potentially send it to hundreds of others.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is your child at risk of identity theft? 

    Is your child at risk of identity theft?

    When we think about identity theft we often associate with adults. Considering adults are preoccupied with things like credit scores, bank accounts, and mortgages/rent it’s not surprising that we often connect identity theft automatically with adults. However, the Beter Business Bureau is warning parents that their children could be prime targets for identity thieves. The reason children are such lucrative targets for identity thieves is that they’re essentially clean slates. Combine that with the fact that most parents rarely, if ever, check their child’s credit history.

    So how do identity thieves get your child’s information to steal their identity? One way is through social media. While parents have every right to be proud of their children, sometimes they share too much personal information about their child online. In many cases, it wouldn’t take a scammer long to gather the information needed in order to steal a child’s identity. Another way scammers steal a child’s information is by offering child safety kits. While these kits are legitimate and can help keep a child safe from abduction, not everyone who offers them are who they say they are. Scammers will approach parents unsolicited to offer these kits when their true intention is to obtain your child’s personal information.

    So what can you do to protect your child’s identity? The first thing is to be careful who you share your child’s information with. Maybe you shouldn’t share every detail of their lives on social media. You should also routinely check their credit history. Sometimes these identity thefts go on for years before anyone notices which could ruin their credit as adults. If you find out that your child’s identity has been stolen have your child’s credit history frozen immediately. Then contact your local police to report the crime as in most instances the child’s identity is stolen by someone they know.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Are counterfeits on Amazon a problem? 

    Are counterfeits on Amazon a problem?

    The other day, we posted about several scams that are targeting Amazon shoppers. The scams we mentioned all take place outside of Amazon. That’s not to say that there aren’t scams happening within Amazon. While Amazon is not directly responsible for this particular scam, they are said to be taking measures to combat the problem. What we’re talking about is counterfeits of brand name goods that are being sold through third-party vendors on Amazon. This isn’t the first problem Amazon has had with its third-party stores. Previously, there was an issue of some third-party vendors selling items that had been thrown in the trash.

    Fox Business is reporting that Amazon is getting more serious about cracking down on cheap knock-offs of name brands being sold on their platform. These counterfeits have come at a cost for Amazon as some name brands have refused to sell their products on Amazon because of the number of counterfeits being sold. Many of these counterfeits include such brands as Apple, Nike, Under Armour and Sony. Amazon has even faced a number of lawsuits over the number of counterfeits being sold. Since then Amazon has launched a number of programs to help rod their platform of counterfeits and have even enlisted the help of some well-known name brands.

    So what can we as consumers do to avoid buying counterfeits? When shopping on Amazon be aware of prices that are too low for the product in question. Read the Amazon reviews of the seller to see if they have a reputation for selling knock-offs. Be wary of pictures on the item page that are blurry or ill-defined. And if the seller wants you to contact them before you purchase the item, not only could it be a counterfeit product but it could potentially be a scam as well.

     
  • Geebo 9:04 am on January 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 401k, , , retirement fund,   

    Are thieves targeting your 401k? 

    Are thieves targeting your 401k?

    We’ve discussed several different forms of bank fraud before. Whether it’s text message scams or phishing attacks to gain your account information, we’ve talked about the myriad of ways that scammers try to empty your bank account. Now, because of all the news that has gotten out about these scams thieves and cyber-crooks have started targeting a new source of income, retirement funds and 401ks. Is your retirement nest egg vulnerable to being cleaned out? Let’s take a look at how the thieves are targeting 401ks and what can be done about them.

    According to USA Today, since so many consumers and banks have become wary of the typical scams that are used to attack bank accounts the thieves have turned to attack 401ks. The reasoning behind this is because a lot of people don’t pay close attention to their 401k. In too many cases, consumers will either ignore or discard the statements they receive from their retirement fund broker. Then when they need to check their 401k balance they discover that their fund has been slowly drained. Unlike banks, retirement funds aren’t always willing to help you get your money back.

    While the target may be new, the attacks are roughly the same. The thieves use old standards like phishing attacks and weak passwords to gain access to your 401k. In order to prevent these attacks from happening it’s recommended that you review the mailed statements you receive from your fund manager for any suspicious behavior. It’s also recommended that you use a strong password to secure your account with a password that’s not used on any of your other online accounts. Lastly, never click on any links in emails that you receive purporting to be from your 401k manager as they can be used to steal your login information. Instead, always go directly to the 401k website and log in from there to check your account.

     
  • Geebo 8:07 am on January 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Windows 7 is no longer supported, what should you do? 

    Windows 7 is no longer supported, what should you do?

    As of today, January 14th, 2020, the Windows 7 operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft. This means that as of today, Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates for Windows 7 as the operating system has reached its end of life. If you currently have a computer that runs Windows 7, you could be vulnerable to malicious attacks. Not only that but you could also leave any other computer connected to your network vulnerable to attack. In short, if your Windows 7 computer is currently connected to the internet, your data and information are at great risk. So let’s discuss what you can do to correct that.

    The first thing you want to do is back up all your data. Most security experts recommend the 3-2-1 method. That means make 3 backups on 2 different forms of media with at least 1 copy kept offsite. The easiest way to proceed from here would be to purchase a new copy of Windows 10 for over $100. That’s as long as you don’t have an older computer that doesn’t meet the requirements to run Windows 10. Microsoft says that no computer over 3 years old should install windows 10, however, Windows 10 has been known to run on older computers. A good rule of thumb may be to only install Windows 10 on a computer that had Windows 7 or 8 pre-installed.

    But if you don’t feel like spending a lot of money to upgrade to Windows 10 there is an unofficial way to get the update for free. While Microsoft isn’t advertising this method, they’re not discouraging it either. The steps for that process can be found at this link and they’re not as hard as they may seem. Be warned that this isn’t a guaranteed method for everyone.

    If your computer is not capable of running Windows 10 all is not lost. There are a number of free operating systems that fall under the Linux umbrella that should be able to be installed on your computer. If you want one that resembles Windows 7 there is a Linux distribution, or distro for short, known as Zorin OS. They have instructions on how to install their system on your computer. One of the benefits of using Linux over Windows is that Linux is more secure. While Linux does not run Windows programs natively there are many Linux versions of your favorite apps. There are also Linux alternatives for most of your favorite Windows apps.

    Just remember to back up all of your data before attempting any of these upgrades or changes.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    Scams that use the Amazon name 

    Scams that use the Amazon name

    Over the weekend, a number of reports came out independent from each other that detailed separate scams that are using Amazon’s name and logo to fool victims into handing over personal or financial information.

    In the first scam, scammers are sending out emails with the official Amazon logo attached to them. The email thanks you for purchasing an Amazon e-gift card. The email then says that if you didn’t purchase the e-gift card to click a link to cancel the purchase or receive a refund. This is a phishing attack that will lead you to a website that is not Amazon where the scammers will try to get you to input personal or financial information in order to get your ‘refund’. In one instance, a victim was asked to buy Amazon gift cards from a local retailer to fix the problem. If you ever receive an email like this you should never click on any links. Instead, go straight to the retailer’s website to check your account.

    The second scam was reported as happening in the Pacific Northwest. In it, the scammers are sending consumers letters stating that their Amazon purchase didn’t go through. What’s troubling about this scam is that the scammers have gained access to information that allows them to know what you purchased from Amazon and how much you paid for it. The letter instructs you to go to a website in order to but again, asks you to input personal and financial information. It’s unknown how scammers have gotten the purchase information so if you receive one of these letters, it’s recommended that you change the password to your Amazon account.

    In the last scam, if you’re thinking about signing up for Amazon Prime or you have a technical issue with Prime, be careful of what links you click on after a web search. In some cases, if you do a web search for ‘Amazon Prime’ or ‘Amazon Prime customer support’ you may be presented with ads that take you to third-party sites that are definitely nor Amazon. In other cases, these ads will list a phony customer service number for Amazon Prime. Security researchers have stated that these ads will take you to sites that will try to get you to pay for services that would be free if performed by amazon. This is also known as the tech support scam. Again, if you have customer service needs that Amazon needs to address, go to Amazon.com in order to find the correct information.

     
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