Sunday, November 13, 2016

Social Media Scam Bait and Solution #4

The top #4 social media scam, according to Norton. com is Cash Grabs.  Cash Grabs is a popular scam that most of us have seen.  You received an email from a friend that in a panic needed your financial help because they lost their wallet and was deserted in a foreign country.  Sound familiar?

The bait:  an email or social media profile from a “friend” who claims they lost their wallet while on vacation and need money from you in order to get home.

How it happens:  Your friend's computer was infected with malware.  Malware is malicious software, hence the nickname “malware”.  Malware is an infection that hijacks the computer including data, contacts, emails and more.  You may have heard the term “worm” or “spyware” and are good examples of what malware is.  The creator of the malware that infiltrates a computer is the true culprit according to the software they generate containing harmful coding. 
In this case, the malware grabs the contacts on the computer and forwards a fake email to all waiting to and waits to see who takes the bait. IE: Hey, guys.  I am stuck in London and need money to get back.  Someone walked off with my bag that had my cell phone and plane ticket.  Please email me back asap so we can make arrangements.  Thanks!

Solution:  Ignore it!  Contact your friend and let them know their email was hacked.  Tell your friend to scan their computer with malware scanner software.  Here is a link to Microsoft for a free download.

For more tips and free investigative resources you can use at home please visit my website.

Stay safe and knowledgeable.  Cheryl D. Ring, The PI Speaker

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Game We Should All Avoid

Scams suck as much as their makers.   We must be on the defensive at all times and it can be very expensive and time-consuming to put a plan into action that may or may not be enough to fight them off.  Don’t worry though because like Dr. Oz who presents a million drugs on his show that prevent or enhance one thing or another we cannot buy or ingest every single one of them.  If we did we would go broke and they would make us sick.   We can never have too much internet protection but we don't need it all either.  

In order for us to protect ourselves from online scam's, we do need an anti-virus software that gives us, at the very least, basic coverage that we can get for less than $20 a year at Norton.  AVG offer free basic software but may not give us as much protection as we need considering our internet use.  If we are covered with basic anti-virus software and basic knowledge it may be just enough to keep us protected.  

Last week I spoke about Hidden URL’s and Phishing two of the top 5 internet scams according to  Another scam you should know about is Hidden Charges

Bait:  A fun fact game

IE:  What type of character are YOU? 

In order to play this high-profile game, you must first enter a few pieces of personal information such as your cellular telephone number of which you inadvertently provide.  If you provide your cell phone number, for example, you will eventually begin to receive text messages from unidentified numbers and consequently receive charges for these texts on your cellular phone bill.  A good example of this sort of scam is when you receive a text from someone you know or at least you think it’s from someone you know but it really isn’t.  The scammer has high jacked your friends’ social media profile and their contacts and has sent text messages to their contacts, including you, that contain content that makes the recipient believe it’s really them.  But, if you think about whom it is coming from and that person’s normal texting behavior then you might be on to the scammer.  For example, out of nowhere and out of left field you shockingly receive a text from someone you NEVER hear from let alone through text messages, and they “say” something generic like, “hey, how was your day?”  The first thing you should do is go online and check out their social media profile.  What you will most likely find is their real profile page, that you are “friends” on and a second FAKE profile.  This FAKE profile is used specifically to high jack the contacts on your friends’ social media page for the purpose of the Hidden Charges scam.  Or, you may receive a fake chain letter asking you to repost to your friends’.  CHAIN LETTER is another scam that we will talk about in the near future.  It’s not nearly as harmful as the other scams we have spoken about so far.

Solution:  Your best defense is to be aware that online games, surveys, and contests could potentially be a scam.  Your protection is your skepticism. 

So, next time you are perusing through your Facebook Page or the internet looking for games to play DON’T GIVE OUT YOUR INFORMATION.  It’s as simple as that.  If you receive a text from a "friend" that seems out of place do not respond to the text but find their real profile page and private message them.  Please review my previous posts about Hidden URL’s and Phishing so you don’t fall into those traps.  

For tips and free investigative resources you can use at home please visit my website.
Thank you for your continued support! - Cheryl D. Ring, The PI Speaker