Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 1: Common Techniques

Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 1: Common Techniques

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1.) Phishing : Phishing e-mails mimicking online businesses or banks in an attempt to fool people into freely giving out confidential personal and financial information. URL Obfuscation is the part of the phishing scam that really plays on human error and our brain’s ability to “fill in the gaps” automatically by sending a victim to a fraudulent web site address that looks almost exactly like a real address (i.e. http://www.pay-pal.com versus http://www.paypal.com).

2.) Pharming : Pharming is another form of phishing that “poisons” a person’s computer’s DNS cache and redirects visitors from a real web site to a bogus mirror site. Every web site has its own internet address and the Domain Name System (DNS) translates the IP address into the host name. A DNS cache poisoning changes the entries in the computer so when the legitimate site is typed in, the victim is sent to a fraudulent web page instead.

3.) Trojan Horse : Trojan Horses are malicious software files that infiltrate your PC by hiding in seemingly innocuous files. Some Trojans, called “keystroke loggers,” record every one of a person’s keystrokes and send that information back to the attacker.

4.) Trojan : Zombie Computers and Man-In-The-Middle Attacks are part Trojan and the malicious software that is installed on the victim’s computer allows that person’s PC to be controlled remotely by their attacker without their knowledge. The Man-In-The-Middle attack is frequently partnered with an “Evil Twin” which is a fake wireless internet hot spot connection that looks almost like a legitimate service. When the victim attempts to connect, the criminal launches a transaction to get the victim’s credit card information in the form of a standard pay-for-access deal to use the wireless internet.

5.) Cashier’s Check Scams : There are numerous ways to use cashier’s checks in scams. Here are a few of the most common –

Money mule: you receive payments, and you’re supposed to deposit the payments to your account and forward the money to somebody else. Often advertised as a work-at-home check processing job, these schemes are often problematic. In some cases, you’re laundering money for criminals. In other cases, the first few payments are fine, but eventually you’ll get a fake check (after they’ve gained your trust) and you’ll lose money.

Foreign wealth scams: somebody you don’t know reaches out to you and asks for your help transferring a large sum of money out of a corrupt nation. In exchange, you can keep a tiny fraction of the transfer, which is more than you make in a year. Of course, you’ll have to send money to somebody to complete the transfer (which will never arrive).

Inheritance and lottery scams: you’re about to receive a lot of money, but you’ll need to pay a small amount for taxes or legal fees to “release” the funds. It’s a small price to pay for the riches that are headed your way. Of course, they’ll never materialize.

Property rental scam: somebody is moving to your area for a new job. They’d like to pay the first and last month of rent (and security deposit) with a cashier’s check before they ever see the property. The day after you deposit the check, they say there was an issue with the job – they’re not coming, so they don’t need the rental. You can keep the security deposit, but they’d like for you to return some of the rent. After you send the refund, you’ll find that the check was a fake.

Part 2 (JULY) will go over a few tips to protect yourself.

~Your TeCHS

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What do you do if your email has been hacked?

What do you do if your email has been hacked?

Have you ever tried to check your email but you find you can’t log in. Your friends and family might even be receiving messages that you know you didn’t send. What’s the deal? Unfortunately, you’ve probably been hacked! It may be because of malware installed on your computer, a company’s data breach, or even someone you know who was able to guess your security questions and change your password.

So… what do you do if your email has been hacked? Here are a few quick steps you can take to help recover your account and protect the security of your identity and your personal information.

  1. Check your security software now!

Hackers usually gain access to your accounts and passwords through computer viruses you might not have noticed. You will need to make sure your computer is clean before you do anything else.

Also, you will want to make sure that your computer and all of the important software (like your anti-virus) are up to date. Take a look at your settings and make sure they are set to update automatically. Then, run a security scan and see if there are any problem programs or viruses. Delete anything that comes up as suspicious, and restart your machine.

  1. Change your passwords.

Once you have made sure that your computer is virus free you will want to change your passwords. Changing passwords is always a bit of a pain… but it really should be done every few months even if you have no problems. Some people like to use password managers which generates very strong passwords and keeps track of them for you. Those usually come with a monthly fee.

  1. Check with your email provider.

The company that hosts your email should have measures that you can take to verify your identity and restore access to your account (such as texting a code to your phone). Once you have regained access to your email account, go to your settings and check them thoroughly. You will want to make sure your emails aren’t being forwarded to somebody else… and check to make sure that no links have been added to your email signature.

  1. Spread the word.

If you are at all concerned that your account has been compromised you need to let your friends and family know… they might have to do some work of their own if they clicked on a bad link that came from what they thought was you.

Also, sharing this blog post may help someone you know.

~Your TeCHS

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