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 on the rise. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.
#1 – Android Malware Attacks
Many phone users fail to remember one crucial piece of information about their smartphones and tablets: they’re actually minicomputers. They’re susceptible to malware and viruses just like the computer that sits on their desks. This is especially troubling because many users don’t think about installing antivirus protections on their phones, leaving the door wide open for a cybercriminal.
Even worse, with the abundance of social media messaging and text messaging, it’s all too easy for a scammer to send a malicious link to a recipient in the form of a bogus ad or offer, duping the user into clicking and installing the malware.
If you ever receive a message through your device with an offer, an unknown request to update your software, or any other link that you can’t verify, it’s important that you authenticate the content before you click. A simple online search with the details of the message should give you the information you need.
#2 – Halloween Shopping Scam
We just can’t enjoy a good holiday anymore without scammers ruining it somehow. And with Halloween being the second highest consumer spending holiday (after Christmas), it’s no wonder thieves have come out of the woodwork to make a quick buck.
With the abundance of online shopping and the ease of making a cheap and anonymous website, fake Halloween stores are a growing problem. Whether it’s full costumes, decorations, or any accessories you might need, a number of fake websites use stolen images from legitimate Halloween stores to produce what looks like a genuine company. They take your credit card information for the items you think you’re purchasing, but you never receive your goods.
To avoid these stores, be watchful for things on their websites that don’t look right, like strange wording or bad grammar. More importantly, never enter your personal or financial information on a website that doesn’t have an HTTPS designation at the front of its web address. The S indicates it’s a secure site, and that’s something scammers cannot easily fake.
#3 – IP Address Scam
You’re probably used to getting random scammy offers in your email inbox, ones that start with phrases like “Dear Blessed,” or “Attention User.” It’s easy to ignore those because they’re so fake looking. But what about ones that are harder to detect because they actually contain information about you, in this case, your internet service provider? It’s harder to ignore a promise of free rewards when the email specifically says, “Dear CableOne Customer.”
How did the scammer know who your internet company is? It’s in your IP address, an easily located piece of information. Your IP is your connection’s own personal “name,” so to speak, and it’s all over the internet, basically anywhere you visit, comment, or shop. Don’t worry, it’s not usually considered a highly sensitive piece of information, but it can be used to make a phishing email or message look a little more genuine. Remember to avoid scams that promise you something for nothing, something like cash or prizes for responding to an email or filling out a survey, even if they look like they came from a real business.
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.