Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detector leads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.
#1 – Juice Jacking
Don’t these slang terms for cybercrimes keep getting better and better? But juice jacking, a new form of gleaning data off your smartphone or tablet, has already made its way into pop culture on detective TV shows. It occurs when you plug your device into a public charging station such as at a mall or airport, only their included cable doesn’t just power your phone. Inside the tampered-with charging station, a thief has installed a computer and the cable is actually syncing your phone or tablet, stealing your photos, your passwords, your emails, and more.
To avoid falling victim to this process, stay clear of those charging stations as much as you can. Carry your own charger if you’re in danger of losing your battery life that day, and only use a wall outlet with your own cable. If you absolutely must use a public charging station, power your device all the way off (not just in black screen sleep mode) before plugging it in.
#2 – Facebook Privacy Notice
If you’ve been around Facebook for any amount of time, you might have seen people posting a privacy notice and then encouraging others to paste it on their walls, too. It basically has wording to the effect that the individual does not give permission for Facebook to use their photos, posts, images, or any other content from their walls. It also claims to absolve the individual from any liability that may arise from sharing content on their Facebook feeds.
Sadly, you can post whatever pronouncement you want… it doesn’t make it true. When you signed up for a Facebook account, you agreed to THEIR terms of service, not your own. Anything you share on Facebook can be stolen by other users, shared by anyone you’re connected to, and used in any way other people see fit. Simply stating, “Don’t touch my pictures,” isn’t going to protect you in any way. Remember, EVERYTHING you post on social media can (and quite possibly, will) be shared by others.
#3 – IQ Test Scam
You’ve probably seen some pretty ridiculous “tests” and “quizzes” on social media. Some of them are funny, like “What Disney Princess are you?” or “What Marvel superhero are you?” Your answers to some basic scenario-based questions reveal which character you have the most in common with.
But there are some quizzes that mimic these types of games, and they’re not so funny. Many of them pose pointless queries like, “Bet you can’t name a city without the letter A in it!” to entice you into playing along, while others offer to test your IQ. Once you click the link and you fill out a few pieces of information to start the quiz, you’re locked in. The scammer will use your phone number to send you “premium” text messages, and by the time you get your phone bill, you’ve received dozens of these daily per-charge texts. A less malicious but still invasive form of it is simply to nab your email address so they can then flood your inbox with spam emails. The scammers make money off of luring you into giving them your info, then they can sell that info to marketing companies.
Never enter personal identifiable information on an unknown website or app, and always ask yourself, “Why in the world do you need to know my phone number to see how smart I am?” You can bet the scammers are laughing at how gullible you were, not how intelligent you are.
For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.