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Internet scams we’re still falling for in 2018 (Part 1)

1.) Phishing Scams

This is one of the most common internet crime in terms of cyber attacks. This is an email hand crafted to look like it is coming from trustworthy sources and much targeted campaign to hit specific people is known as spear phishing.

The most typical are the ones coming from Apple, Dropbox, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Paypal, Yahoo and your bank. It typically would say that there is an issue with your account.

The second most common type would probably be from FedEx, DHL, DMV, Attorneys saying you have “Delivery Issues”, “Parking Tickets”, “Cancelled Transactions” or “Refunds for Purchases.”

Often times, the email encourages the reader to follow the link either to fix the issue of or is being warned that something will happen to their account.

The reason it is called phishing is because it fishes for information. This happens only if you provide them when you login to the link they provide you.

Examples of phishing include:

  • Whaling, or business email compromise (BEC). These scams often go after employees with access to a company’s internal finances.
  • W-2 phishing. In this scam, popular around tax season, employees in HR or payroll departments get emails asking for a list of employees and their W-2 forms.
  • Holiday gift card phishing. The FBI warned the public about this scam in December. Hey, someone’s sent you a gift card! These scams often lure you into filling out a survey designed to steal your data.

But here’s my favorite trick of all: You can confirm that a phishing email is fake!

  • Computer: Point your cursor at the “click here” link without clicking.
  • Phone: Hold your finger down on the link.

2. Ransomware

This threat has grown exponentially over the years. The primary concept is to infect your computer when you open an email with a malicious link or attachment or by visiting an infected website.

This puts a virus or malware that locks you out from the PC or encrypts its contents, files, pictures, etc.

Afterwards, there would be a message on the screen giving you instructions on how to get your computer and files back. Hence it is where the term ransomware came from. (You’re often asked to pay the ransom in bitcoin, so that the recipient can’t be traced.)

It is pretty much a scam because there is a very slim chance that your files will be restored after being compromised and locked. They would just end up getting the money and leaving you hanging in the air.

The best way is always the simplest. Make backups and keep those copies safe. This means keep the copy far away from the computer.


3. The “mugged on vacation” scam

This is real, and it even happened to a few people i know.

You might receive an email or text message that might be similar to the one below:

“I’m writing this message to you with great sadness,” says an email from one of your friends. “I was mugged, and all my belongings including cell phone and credit card were all stolen at gunpoint. I need your help flying back home and paying my hotel bills!”

This one’s especially confusing because the message comes from someone you know. It is emotionally tugging on your heartstrings if it they would pretend to be a family member

In a nutshell, if your friend has never left the country for a vacation, then it might not be the true at all.

What is crazy about this is that, hackers might have infected his or her computer and used information gathered to send out email to everyone from the address book. Another variant takes control of Facebook accounts to message directly from there.

If you are hesitating even for a bit and would like to confirm its legitimacy, ask a question that a scammer couldn’t answer. Not something easy to find out, like your friend’s name or employer, but something harder to guess, like details of a family event.


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