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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tricksters, Charlatans and Deceivers.

A recent news article described how a concerned grandmother was scammed into wiring $4600 to Canada, believing she was helping her granddaughter. They had enough information to convince her but the reality is that they were savvy enough to gather facts from Facebook accounts. You can read the article here. Similar scams have been accomplished under the guise of a stranded traveler needing money to get back home or pay a hotel bill. We want to help and we don't want to appear hesitant or doubting.  Unfortunately, we can become pawns if we aren't just a little bit cynical.

There are many emails that try and spoof you into giving out critical information by 'imitating' your bank, the IRS or eBay., Another 'phishing' fraud with a new twist is to call your home stating they are from your ISP (such as AT&T or Comcast for example) and inform you that your account has been compromised.  If you will verify your access password or username, they will fix the problem.  I assure you, your ISP has all the access they need to fix the problem.  They have your username on file and they don't need any passwords.

Here are some steps that can help you avoid getting getting scammed.  

Always verify the information. If you receive an email or message, supposedly from someone you know, verify the source. If they can text you, they can call you. Call a family member, hotel, bank or your ISP if you are ever in doubt.  

Don't click on links.  If you receive an email asking for information or showing something strange (such as a transaction you didn't make) type the url into your web browser or use your bookmark. Don't click on the link in the email as it can be masked to make you think you are going to the correct site, but you are redirected elsewhere.   

Make sure you are protected. Make sure your computer is current (with anti-virus, anti-spam, and spyware detection features. ) Always make sure that when working with financial transcations, the browser URL shows HTTPS instead of HTTP. You can also look for the closed padlock in the status bar of your browser. You can double click on that padlock to be sure the security certificate matches the website.

Read your bank, phone and credit card statements. Make sure you made all the transactions and there is no conflict over those transactions.  Be sure to do this in a timely manner so any problem transaction can be caught and reported immediately!

There have been tricksters, charlatans and deceivers since the dawn of man. To avoid the sharks, I encourage you to take a few moments to educate yourself about cyber-crimes by visiting http://www.antiphishing.org/

1 comment:

  1. I especially liked the "Dont click on links," Even if someone has adequate protection, clicking a link bypasses this sentry. I know this from personal experience!

    ReplyDelete