We all know that Texas has been in the news recently for devasting weather mixed with electrical blackouts. Disaster scammers have been targeting those affected and taking advantage of the situation by asking people to send their private account numbers. Don't do it! It's a bad idea - the electrical companies don't need anything from you.
What should you take away from this? Scammers love to make big promises in exchange for your information. In disaster situations where we are desperate for help, scammers will ask for your personal information in exchange for your electricity turning back on and Amazon gift cards. Don't believe it and don't do it - it's all a lie.
Whether your Mac is being powered by Apple or Intel processors, there is a newly discovered malware that has silently and secretly infected Mac's for quite some time now. Genereal belief is that this malware named "Silver Sparrow" found its way into Apple computers via malicious websites (Our training will help you identify these.) Researchers don't understand what the purpose or goal of the malware is, as it is mainly sitting dormat while it's waiting for an activation signal from the mothership (where ever and whomever that is.) What makes this particularly dangerous is that no one knows what it's going to do once activated, plus it apparently has a built-in self-destruct mechanism. Even worse, 30,000 is just an estimate and there could be thousands more infected with something similar.
What should you take away from this? Security researchers around the world are on top of this and Apple has already made moves to protect its users. Researchers believe these computers were infected
Imagine this in a robot voice: "This is the Customs and Immigration department calling to notify you that your package has been detained at customs. The package was found with drugs and cash labeled under your name. Press '1' to be connected to an agent immediately." -- They just want your money.
What should you take away from this? It's a complete scam, classic. Almost every package is traceable and if any "government agency" asks you to pay a fine over the phone, don't do it. Our training will help you identify these scammers.
Holiday gift exchanges are always a fun time with your friends and family. You know when it's not fun? When you gift someone, but get nothing back. Sadly, that's what will happen with these fake gift exchanges on social media. It's spreading fast and uses emoji's and fun words like "super easy & fun!! Especially during this pandemic!" to lure you in.
What should you take away from this? You'll be giving random people your personal information which will make you highly vulnerable to identity theft, plus you'll give away your money to scammers.
A new scam floating around the internet wants you to pay to activate your streaming platform such as Roku. Streaming platforms like Roku don't require an activation fee to set up in addition to paying for the device itself. This scam starts by clicking on the wrong link or typing in the wrong website address.
What should you take away from this? Be careful on the links you click and always check to ensure the website you wanted is actually it. Our training will practically make you an expert on this!
It's super important to keep those apps on your phone updated. Instagram recently released an update to their app that prevented a pretty serious hack from seeing the light of day. If you haven't updated your Instagram app, or your phone isn't auto-updating for some reason, then here is what could potentially happen: A sneaky hacker would convince you to save a meticulously crafted picture to your phone (maybe a funny meme you want to forward to people) and then upon opening Instragram, the app would crash. That crash just gave the hacker 100% full control of your phone and could turn it into a spying device like stealing your data.
Moral of the story? ALWAYS update your apps!
The latest COVID scam is fake contact tracers (the technology that will notify you on your cell phone if you have come into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.) Now that Apple and Google have released their official collab, learn about it here, there are swarms of scams out there claiming to be them, or variations of them.
The FTC has released the "5 things you need to know" and they are:
Innocent people searching for "work from home" jobs are being tricked into becoming what the FBI calls "money mules" by unknowingly moving money for criminals through funds transfers, physical movement of cash and various other methods. People are often targeted through online job schemes or dating websites and apps. Read the FBI press release here.
The FBI recommends for people to watch out for online job postings and emails from individuals promising you easy money for little to no effort. These are some common red flags:
A VPN (virtual private network) is like walking around a crowded grocery store during COVID in your own personal bubble, you're fully protected from the virus. For car enthusiasts, a VPN is like private tunnel underneath the freeway, your car is all alone. Ok so what is it really? A VPN ensures the data traveling between your device (computer, smartphone, tablet) and the websites you visit on the internet, are completely secure and anonymous. Hackers, cyber criminals, and data thieves won't be able to spy on what you're doing.
Why do I need a VPN?
First you must pick a company that offers a VPN service and sign up with them. There are some great free services out there as well as paid services that offer some added benefits. Once you're a member, they typically give you a software to install or you can use the built-in's offered with Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS and Linux. Your computer will connect to one of the servers owned by the VPN company and use that server to route all your internet requests through it to completely hide yourself from cyber spies. So for example, if you don't use a VPN, your Internet Provider (the company that you pay monthly to have internet access at your house) will be able to see what websites you visit. If you use a VPN, your Internet Provider will think you only visit one website and that's the VPN company since all your internet data is routing through that VPN server.
We'll update this soon with some links to VPN service options and how to configure them.
With all the uncertainty around COVID-19 in our daily lives, the last thing we need is to potentially get scammed. Unfortunately, scammers and hackers are out there ready to take advantage of people's COVID-19 fears. From phone calls, to emails, to text messages, to Facebook posts, they will try to get you in any way they can!
The FTC has released a list of "4 things you can do to avoid a coronavirus scam" and they are: