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Trusting too much brings Trouble

There will always be the person who lives on the Equator to whom you can sell an electric heater. As they say, there is a sucker born every minute.

12DThis is why cyber criminals will always have a field day, like the crook who posed as a tax man who got an elderly couple to send $100,000 to an offshore bank account after he tricked them.

This was a fear-based scam. The other two categories are compassion and self-interest. And just because a person can’t be frightened doesn’t mean that their heart strings can’t be tugged by a charity scam.

Elderly people and those with low income are more likely to be tricked. Other people…well, you just have to wonder what’s between their ears.

For example, the popular Microsoft scam involves a person calling the victim to tell them that their computer has a virus. The caller is a crook who wants to convince the victim to allow him remote access to the computer. Don’t the victims ever wonder how the heck Microsoft would even know their computer had a virus? Red flag, anyone?

Some say ask the caller for their number so you can call back–they’ll probably hang up. Probably. The scammer may have a number in place just to cover this possibility. Really, just hang up. It’s a scam.

Some people will just keep giving money out, again and again, to the same scammer; it’s not always a flash-in-the-pan payout. What compels them to behave this way? Perhaps it’s to continually convince themselves that they’re not dumb enough to be scammed.

Another way cons trap people is by asking for small amounts of money first; this lowers the victim’s guard.

More Popular Scams

  • Charity. These can range from natural disaster relief to donations for made-up charities, or those with names very similar to well-known ones.
  • Rental. The crook sends the landlord an overpayment by check of the first month’s rent before living there, then tells the landlord to wire back the difference. The check bounces.
  • IRS: Always hang up on callers identifying themselves as tax people claiming you underpaid or are owed a refund, even if the caller ID says “IRS.”

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.

Beware of the Lottery Scam

“You have won!” Yippeeee! NOT! Let’s see if you’re in that percentage of the population who will fall for this lottery scam. The alert can be an e-mail, snail mail or phone call, claiming you won a bundle of money. But keep this alert a secret due to some “mix-up in names” and you must contact a “claims agent.” You then must pay “processing charges” or “transfer fees.” You then wait. And wait. And wait.

9DThere’s one born every minute. Many scammers use the names of valid lottery organizations, but this doesn’t mean the legit entities are involved.

The latest con is to tell someone they won a Powerball jackpot while planning on stealing their identity. This happened to Jim Shella, a newsman from Indianapolis. From a random number he received several texts mentioning his name and saying he won.

Deputy Attorney General Terry Tolliver knew this was a scam. A text requested Shella’s Facebook screen name for confirmation. The requests for personal information, in these scams, will escalate. Shella texted back asking for identification. The answer: “This is Agent Paul, the delivery consultant for Powerball.” When Shella said he had no winning ticket, Agent Paul said that none were necessary to collect the $26,500.

Shella said he was a reporter and asked Agent Paul if he wanted to be in a story. Agent Paul asked if Shella wanted his winnings. Tolliver warns that these scammers will attempt to suck enough information out of you to steal your identity. Though Shella was playing head games with the crook, it’s best to delete the first text message you get like this and never respond.

How to recognize a lottery scam

  • You can’t win without a ticket. Period. So if someone claims you won, and you didn’t buy a ticket, it’s a scam.
  • You must pay a fee. Legitimate operations subtract fees and taxes from the winnings rather than demand you pay an amount in order to collect the prize.
  • Scams almost always originate from free e-mail accounts like Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Beware of Flight MH17 Facebook Scams

How low can scammers go? The latest is phony Facebook profiles that use identities of deceased victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17—claiming their credit cards were stolen from the crash debris.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-identity-theft-red-words-binary-code-computer-monitor-image39907813“Death hunters,” says Ukrainian MP Anton Gerashchenko on his Facebook page, are collecting jewels, cash and credit cards off of the victims. His post urges victims’ relatives to “freeze their credit cards, so that they won’t lose their assets to terrorists!”

The Dutch Banking Association assured next-of-kin that they’d be compensated for the fallout of credit card theft.

Journalist Phil Williams was at the crash site and pointed out that it was obvious that wallets and handbags had been stolen. Just about all the handbags had been opened, he reports. Looting is apparent, he says.

Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, used the term “utterly disgusting” to describe how the rebels had treated the corpses.

But beyond the site is even more alarming activity: fake Facebook accounts. At least five phony FB accounts have been set up in the names of deceased Australians—including three kids. Facebook has since shut down the pages.

The pages provided a link to a video claiming to reveal footage of the airliner’s crash. However, users instead were directed to a website full of pop-up ads for fishy-looking services. The lure to this site was a malicious link tagline: “Video Camera Caught the moment plane MH17 Crashed over Ukraine. Watch here the video of Crash.”

You can imagine how many people—not necessarily next-of-kin, took the bait and made the click. Though these particular fraudulent pages were closed down, this doesn’t mean more won’t appear.

Is this common after a disaster?

It seems to be more common, as criminals are capitalizing on current events to perpetrate scams generally within a 24-48 hour period.

Tips for spotting these scams for consumers in general:

Thinking before you click, doing research and not being so impulsive will keep consumers from being baited by scammy links, titles and stories.

Tips for family members of the deceased:

They should cancel credit cards, create fraud alerts through their country’s credit bureaus, and once death certificates are obtained they need to submit them to the credit bureaus. Otherwise set up Google alerts with the decedents’’ names to monitor any chatter on social sites that may turn up their likeness in a stolen social media identity theft case.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Scrooge’s 12 Scams of the Holidays

They’re baaaack! Actually, they never left—Scrooge’s little trolls work hard all year, scheming and scamming to steal holiday presents—or at least valuable information—from good girls and boys. From the North Pole to the South Pole, they target every one of us through phishing, SMiShing (text phishing), shipping and gift card scams. If you aren’t paying attention, they will hack your devices, spy on your surfing and empty your bank account.

12-scamsThe holidays are supposed to be a fun-filled time for celebrating with family and friends, so make sure you keep the cheer in your holiday and learn about the “12 Scams of the Holidays,” the dozen most dangerous online scams to watch out for this holiday season, revealed today by McAfee.

To make sure your holidays are not stolen by the Grinch, here are some tips on how to protect yourself against scams during the holidays, and year-round:

  • Educate yourself—Keep up-to-date on the latest scams and tricks cybercriminals use, so you can learn to recognize scams and avoid potential attacks.
  • Use strong passwords— Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long and contain a variety of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Be careful when clicking—Don’t click on links in messages from people you don’t know, and use a URL expander to know what site you are going to before clicking on a shortened URL.
  • Stay suspicious—Like mom said, be wary of any offer that sounds too good to be true.
  • Practice safe surfing—When searching for holiday gifts, use a safe search plug-in such as McAfee® SiteAdvisor®.
  • Practice safe shopping—Make sure you stick to reputable e-commerce sites that have been verified as safe by a trusted third-party, like the McAfee SECURE™ mark. Also look for “https” at the beginning of a site’s URL, which indicates that the site is using encryption to protect your information.
  • Use comprehensive computer security—Make sure you have comprehensive security protection for all your devices, including your mobile phone and tablet, that also protects your data and identity protection, like McAfee LiveSafe™ service.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.

Yes, There are “Mother’s Day” Scams

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, cybercriminals are working up ways to take advantage of this time when you’re online looking to buy flowers, candies, perfumes, jewelry or whatever gifts for mom might be hot this year. Phishersfollow a similar editorial calendar as newspaper and magazine editors, coordinating their attacks around holidays and the change in seasons. They also capitalize on significant events and natural disasters.

They are trying to get you to click links that will either infect your PC with malware, or visit a website that offers you too good to be true deals on gifts for mom. If you download malware from a bad link, everything you type into your computer could be recorded by the cybercriminal, you could be unknowingly sending them your personal information, or the malware could render your machine useless. Entering your personal and credit card information on a fake site could results in charges on your card, never receiving the item you “purchased, “ and even the possibility of new cards opened in your name.

To help make this Mother’s Day enjoyable for you and your mom, make sure to follow these steps when shopping online:

Be wary of offers that are too good to be true—the usually are.

Always be suspicious when you receive an email or text message from a company asking for personal information—legitimate companies do not ask for personal information in emails or texts

Don’t click on a link in emails, texts, or chats from someone you don’t know

To ensure you’re visiting the correct site, type the store site URL into your browser’s  address bar or use a safe search plug-in, like McAfee® SiteAdvisor® , that comes with McAfee® All Access, and shows you in your browser search results if a site is safe or not.

Use comprehensive security software on all your devices that includes anti-spam and malware protection.

Make sure you protect yourself so you don’t get your credit card maxed out and then go crying to your mom on Mother’s Day.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  (Disclosures)

Cyber-Scrooges Set in Motion the 12 Scams of Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a fun-filled time for celebrating with family and friends, but cybercriminals see this as a time of opportunity. They look to take advantage of us during this time when we’re in the spirit of giving and when we’re scrambling to get our gifts purchased, trees trimmed and donations made.

In a recent study, McAfee found that 70% of Americans plan to shop online during the holiday season and that 24% of us will be doing that shopping via our mobile devices. The scary part is that 88% of us would be willing to trade personal information in order to receive a great offer—something that could cause us to fall into scammers’ traps.

Here are the “12 Scams of the Holidays,” the dozen most dangerous online scams to watch out for this holiday season, revealed today by McAfee.

To make sure your holidays are not stolen by the Grinch, here are some tips on how to protect yourself against scams during the holidays, and year-round:

Stay suspicious—Like mom said, be wary of any offer that sounds too good to be true.

Practice safe surfing—When searching for holiday gifts, use a safe search plug-in such as McAfee SiteAdvisor®.

Practice safe shopping—Make sure you stick to reputable e-commerce sites that have been verified as safe by a trusted third-party, like the McAfee SECURE™ mark. Also look for “https” at the beginning of a site’s web address, which indicates that the site is secured.

Use strong passwords— Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long and contain a variety of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

Be careful when clicking—Don’t click on links in messages from people you don’t know, and use a URL expander to know what site you are going to before clicking on a shortened URL.

Use comprehensive computer security—Make sure you have up-to-date security software that includes antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, and anti-phishing protection for all your devices, including your mobile phone and tablet.

Educate yourself—Keep up-to-date on the latest scams and tricks cybercriminals use, so you can learn to recognize scams and avoid potential attacks.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert for McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.

Dating Extortion Scams On The Rise

The Internet Crime Complaint Center has recently received reports regarding a scam that baits individuals into intimate online conversations and then extorting them for financial gain. The scam was initiated after the victims met someone online, such as on a dating site, and were asked to connect via a specific online social network. Shortly after, the conversations became sexual in nature. Later, victims received text messages, either containing their names, asking if it was them or containing a statement that indicated their names were posted on a particular website.

The victims were provided a link to a page on the website that claimed they were a “cheater.” Photos of the victims and their telephone numbers were also posted. There was an option to view and buy the posted conversations for $9. Victims were also given the option to have their names and conversations removed for $99. Some were even told that once the payment was made, the information would be removed within an hour and the website would not allow anyone to post anything pertaining to the victims’ names again. However, reports do not indicate that the information was ever removed.

If more online dating sites incorporated device reputation checks for suspicious computer history and investigated for characteristics consistent with fraudulent use, they’d be able to deny criminals, often before the first time they tried to sign up.

If you use an online dating service, be on guard for scams. Stick to legitimate, well-known websites, and get referrals from friends who have successfully met romantic partners online. But never let your guard down.

When creating your dating profile, never post personal information, including your middle name, full address, phone number or entire birth date.

To vet potential dates, look for information about them elsewhere online, and confirm that it matches the information in their online dating profiles.

If a potential date asks for a loan or any financial information, report them to the dating website immediately.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

Classified Ad Scams Target Pet Lovers

Classified Ad Scams Target Pet Lovers

I love my dog, 60lb German Shepherd. Small for a shepherd, but she was the runt. I’ve always rooted for the underdog. The underdog has more heart, more passion and often tries harder.

Anyway people love their pets, which is why it’s a multi-billion dollar a year business. Scammers know this too and they prey upon classified ad users who are seeking their next pet.

This story caught my eye, “A warning for internet users: an online scam targeting pet-lovers is circulating the web, and it could cost you more than a new pet.”

An ad was posted to a local online classifieds website by a man who claimed he was living in Florida. The seller said he had recently moved to Miami, and couldn’t keep his dog due to his new living conditions. He was willing to give the Labrador Retriever puppy named Dely away for the cost of shipping, which was $220.

The couple sent a delivery service $220 by way of Western Union. The delivery service told the family to send another $820 or risk losing the dog. That’s when the couple realized they’d been scammed. They told the person on the other end of the phone the deal was off. But the caller kept calling, becoming more aggressive each time.

“He kept calling me saying the dogs here,” said the victim. “Making me feel like this poor dog is sitting somewhere unattended.” When the caller realized the couple wasn’t sending the extra $820 he threatened to turn them into authorities and charge them with animal abandonment. Officials determined the entire thing was a scam.

Scammers will say and do anything to get a person to part with their money. At first they had a sob story that sounded like a legitimate issue, new housing that wouldn’t allow a pet. When posted as a classified ad, it looks legitimate. Then they involved a “shipping company” that was a front for the scam. Once the victims were asked to send a money transfer, this should have been a red-flag.

It’s usually best to do business like this locally.

Never automatically trust anyone over the phone or via the internet.

Unless the business is one that is well established online, don’t ever send money that you can’t get back.

Many classified sites stop fraudulent ads from being published in the first place by incorporating device-based intelligence that helps them assess risk upfront. Fraud prevention technology offered by iovation Inc. not only helps these sites identify repeat offenders coming in under multiple fake identities, but they also detect when scammers are attempting to place multiple fraudulent ads using a variety of computers, tablets and smartphones to do so.  This greatly helps rid these sites of undesirables and protect their valued members.

Fraud analysts review thousands of transactions per month on auction sites. They watch for emerging schemes such as the popular “advanced fee schemes” where bad actors posing as sellers require down payments to be wired to them, and “text message fraud” where the legitimate sellers receive text messages that starts the process of being scammed.

Online businesses can see what kind of fraud records are associated with a device touching their website before accepting a new account registration, by tapping into iovation’s cybercrime intelligence network with over 10 million fraud events and more than 1 billion devices.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discussesidentity theft  in front of the National Speakers Association. (Disclosures)

Internet Fraud: Online Dating Scams Cost Millions

All over the world, online dating sites are riddled with internet scammers. For example the Australian government has collected reports from 1600 internet fraud victims who reported losing a total of 17 million dollars to online dating scams in 2011.

“These scams typically involve a genuine user of a dating website being contacted by a potential admirer who is a scammer in disguise. After forming a relationship with the victim, the scammer plays on emotional triggers to get the victim to provide money, gifts or personal details,” said the ACCC, which is encouraging online dating websites to help protect users from these kinds of internet scams by warning them of the risks and verifying dating profiles.

Meanwhile, Mashable reports a 150% increase in global online dating fraud in 2011

If you use an online dating service, be on guard for internet fraud and follow these internet safety tips:

  • Stick to legitimate, well-known online dating sites, and get referrals from friends who have successfully met romantic partners online.
  • When creating your internet dating profile, never post personal information, including your middle name, full address, phone number or entire birth date.
  • To vet potential online dates, look for information about them elsewhere online, and confirm that it matches the information in their online dating profiles.
  • If a potential online date asks for a loan or any financial information, report them to the online dating website immediately. Discussion of money or loans in any capacity is a red flag.
  • When it comes to internet fraud, no matter who someone is, what they say, or how they look, don’t automatically trust them.
  • Don’t let your heart get in the way of basic common sense.

 

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist toHome Security Source discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

Preventing Slip and Fall Scams in your Business

In a down economy people are acting strangely. Desperation makes people do desperate things and insurance fraud is on the rise.

The Middletown Journal reports  “Slips and falls are one of the leading causes of injury to customers and employees, and liability awards for customers who are injured can be tens of thousands of dollars or more, according to insurers. Nationwide, about 2,168 insurance claims last year were submitted to the National Insurance Crime Bureau for referral because they were questionable, according to the organization. This was up 12 percent from 1,944 questionable claims in 2010.”

While most slip and falls are legitimate claims, slip and falls accidents are an old scam that can be lucrative for a professional scammer.

One of the most effective tools to combat slip and falls is video surveillance. Video is the single most effective teller of the truth.

Cameras are everywhere. Some people call this an invasion of privacy. I say the more cameras the better. We are on camera at most retails stores, banks, ATMs, busy intersections, highways, downtown areas and in neighborhoods. We are a video camera soaked society and it’s a good thing. It keeps the honest people honest and the bad guys in-check or in jail.

The good news for small business is cameras are now affordable than ever. Peace of mind comes from knowing there are security cameras strategically placed inside and outside your business. Best of all, with security camera systems, you can watch video from any room in the facility, on any connected TV or dedicated monitor. And when you’re on-the-go, keep an eye on your business with remote video security using any web-enabled computer, smart phone, or iPad.

*Content expressed in Security For Small Business does not represent the thoughts and opinions of ADT Security Services, Inc. unless explicitly indicated.