Saturday, November 28, 2015

You hear it every year around this time, watch out for the scammers, phone calls, etc. Keep your credit cards safe, don't give out personal information to a complete stranger, the list goes on and on.

These warnings have become even more valuable in the recent years as cybercrime has become front page news every few weeks it seems. First TJ Max, then Target, eBay, Home Depot, Sony, etc.

Here is a list of some online scams to check out and make sure you aren't a victim of:

Phishing
    • This is an attempt to acquire sensitive information from you, such as usernames, passwords, credit card info. This happens either through a spoofed web page or through an email sent to you.
    • Think of it like this, your "bank" sends you an email that reads, "Hello user, it appears you may have had your account information looked at by a hacker, please enter in your username and password so that we can reset it for you". First things first, your bank will never call you or attempt to get you to give this information to them. It is a scam, delete the email or hangup right away. Then alert your bank or other to a possible scam.
Phone calls from "Microsoft"
    • I had a call from a customer the other day where she was supposed to call Microsoft to get them to clear up a virus on the computer. You will NEVER get a pop-up or anything else from Microsoft telling you to call them. The only exception to this would be if you had initiated the call of support yourself, thats it.
    • If you end up needing to do a remote session with Microsoft, the website address you would generally go to is: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help If that is not the address you are given, I would highly suggest finding Microsoft support yourself and calling a number to get connected to a person that is a real employee.
A new one I heard of just today about a person posing as a courier and coming to your door and saying there is a package that is going to be delivered to you, but they need to verify your information and credit card data first...SCAM! If you think in any way that a person doesn't sound legitimate or what they represent doesn't sound real, shut the door or hang up, period. Better to possibly offend someone then to get your identity stolen or credit cards racked up.

Malware, Adware, Ransomware

  • Malware is malicious software that is used to gather sensitive data, gain access to your system, or just plainly disrupt computer operations for the fun of it.
  • Malware is also known as a computer virus, worm, trojan horse, spyware, scareware, adware
  • Adware is advertising-supported software that pops up on your computer screen, downloads or displays content and is a general nuisance.
  • Ransomware such as CryptoLocker, which targets Microsoft Windows operating systems, will start encrypting your precious files, pictures, videos, etc. Then it will demand you pay a ransom to get your files back. This is usually performed via Bitcoin.
  • For more information on Ransomware, please visit my other post here.