5 Summer Scams to Avoid


Summer’s almost here which means everyone is out and about – traveling, socializing, barbecuing, etc. Sure this is the season to get a little sun and relax, but not too much…especially when it comes to online security. It doesn’t take long to fall victim to a scam and find yourself in hot water (not the relaxing hot tub kind). There are more social engineering scams out there and they are becoming increasingly sophisticated. We are not sharing this information to scare you, rather to remind you to be cautious so you can enjoy your summer – headache free. Below are five of the most common scams to avoid.

1. You’ve Won a Free Ticket to the World Cup!  

There is another World Cup related scam going around that McAfee has dubbed the “Red Card Club.” Robert Sicilliano, a blogger for McAfee says, “It involves 11 footballers whose names appear on websites that contain the biggest threats of malware infection to fans who visit.” They lure visitors into giving up personal information for the promise of a particular video clip or screensaver.
Who wouldn’t want a free ticket to the World Cup? While it’s easy to get excited about the thought of being a spectator in Brazil, especially when the emailing party appears to be legitimate – would you trade your personal banking details for it? This scam hopes you click the link to print your ticket so it can load your computer with a Trojan and steal private banking information.
LESSON: Don’t click on suspicious links from unknown senders. Even if the email looks legitimate, chances are you didn’t win a World Cup ticket. Also, when surfing the internet be wary of pages that offer free downloads especially when they request personal information.


2. We Can Help you Avoid Cryptolocker!  

This scam preys upon people’s fears of the Cryptolocker saga by “offering” a security patch to protect against the malware making its way around the internet. Instead of getting the security capabilities, victims end up downloading Zbot which hackers use to load more malware on to an infected computer.
LESSON: Security vendors never deliver patches in an email. If you receive any security downloads via email it is a scam.


3. Please Send Me Money, Grandma…and Don’t Tell My Parents! 

There’s nothing new about this scam, however it continues to victimize the elderly. Thanks to the help of social media, attackers can obtain credible information and use it to obtain money from concerned grandparents or elderly relatives. In short, the attacker pretends to be a friend or family member in trouble in another country and in need of money.
How to they obtain your grandparents contact info you may wonder? Often it comes from clicking a faulty email link from say your internet provider or utility company. This gives hackers access to your email contact list (among other things) and then the scamming begins. According to a hacker that was caught doing this, you can make upwards of $10,000 in a day.
LESSON: Again, don’t click on links that appear in an email – no matter how credible the source. You can copy and paste the link into your browser instead.


4. Hi This is Jim from Accounting…  

This scam is referred to as a multi-stage scam that targets enterprises via phone and email. Usually an email is sent which appears to be internal and followed up shortly by a phone call. The caller (pretending to be someone from the organization) instructs the employee to open the email and its attachment. Of course the attachment doesn’t open (or so the employee thinks) – instead malware is planted and the network is hacked.
LESSON: Pay attention! Always be on high-alert for red flags and things that just don’t make sense (i.e. why would “Jim” from accounting need me for this?)


5. We’re Here to Help!   

Known as the “tech support” scam, this effective operation has victims believing that a representative from Microsoft, PayPal, Verizon, Netflix and more are reaching out to help you. They offer support for a low monthly price, however what they don’t tell you is that they aren’t there to help you, they are there to help themselves to your money, files and identity.
LESSON: Companies such as Microsoft don’t make unsolicited calls to customers. Don’t fall for these scams via phone or email. Due your due diligence and think before you act.

To learn how to further protect yourself against scams and malware, fill out the contact form to the right or call us at 800-550-3795.


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