Scam of the day – February 23, 2014 – Serious threat to Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods

A major security defect has been discovered by Apple that if exploited would permit an identity thief to hack into the emails and other communications sent from iPhones, iPads and iPods even if they were encrypted.  This is a potentially devastating flaw as users would believe that their communications were safe because they were using Secure Sockets Layer encryption security to protect their communications.  However, hackers who might gain access through sharing the same wireless network in a public place, such as a coffee shop could exploit this flaw to the extreme detriment of iPhone, iPad, or iPod users who falsely believed that they had taken proper precautions to protect the privacy of their communications and data.  The good news, however is that Apple has come up with a security patch which I provide you with below.  The bad news is that some security experts are now saying that the flaw is also present in Mac OSX, running Apple laptop and desktop computers and as I write this Scam of the day, Apple has not yet come up with a patch for the Mac OSX operating system.

TIPS

If you are an iPhone, iPad or iPod user you should immediately install the critical patch just released to remedy the situation.  Here is the link:  https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2014/02/21/Apple-Releases-Security-Updates-iOS-devices-and-Apple-TV

Identity thieves and hackers count on people not promptly taking identity theft protection steps necessary to keep themselves safe.   Don’t be a victim.  If you use any of these devices, install the patches as soon as possible.  It is also important to remember that the battle with hackers and identity thieves is ongoing.  At the same time that you are installing a security patch, hackers and identity thieves are busy studying the new patches trying to find flaws.  I will always report to you as soon as new developments occur, so make it a point to check out www.scamicide.com each day.

Scam of the day – June 15, 2013 – New iPhone security development

Many people become victims of identity theft when their smartphones are stolen and the thief is able to access personal information stored on the phone such as credit card numbers.  Although many people are aware of the importance of having strong passwords and security software on their computers and laptops, they often neglect to bring these same security measures to their mobile devices.  More than 1.5 million smartphones were stolen last year and many people lost not only their phones but their identities when they did not properly protect their phones.  Apple has had for a long time a feature on the iPhone called “Find My iPhone” which allowed people to locate their phone on a map and remotely lock the phone and delete data.  Unfortunately, knowledgeable identity thieves were able to turn off this feature and make it inoperative.  Now Apple has announced a new feature providing even better protection for your iPhone.  This new feature is an activation lock that will make the phone inoperable if someone attempts to disable the “Find My iPhone” feature without first providing a password.

TIPS

Regardless of what kind of a smartphone you have, you should make sure that you protect it with a complex password and security software and anti-malware software that is regularly updated.   Use an encryption program to further protect yourself when using your smartphone and transmitting data.   Also, do not store personal information on your smartphone that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  For more tips on smartphone security check out my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”

Scam of the day – March 22, 2013 – Important iPhone and iPod security updates and more

As I constantly remind you, it is tremendously important to keep your security software up to date with the latest patches and improvements.  Identity thieves and scammers take advantage of the fact that many people either delay or don’t bother at all to install security software updates on their computers and end up becoming victims of identity theft and scams.  But it is not just your computer that you must update as to security software.  All of your portable devices should have the most current security software installed and kept up to date.  Recently Apple released new security software for its iPhones and iPods.  If you have any of these devices, you should update your security software immediately to avoid identity thieves from exploiting recently discovered vulnerabilities.

Also attached below is a long list of security patches and updates for other commonly used programs that have just been released and gathered by the Department of Homeland Security.

TIPS

Here is a link you can trust to a release from Apple that provides you with information and links necessary to update your security software on your appropriate Apple devices:  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5704

Here is the link to the list of latest security patches as compiled by the Department of Homeland Security for many other software programs.  You should check the list out and update all applicable software that you use: http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/bulletins/SB13-077

Scam of the day – January 31, 2013 – Apple security dangers

Computer and software companies are constantly updating their security to keep pace with the scammers and identity thieves who are just as constantly searching for vulnerabilities in the systems of your computers, laptops, smart phones, tablets and other devices.  If you do not keep up with maintaining the security features of your devices as current as possible, you are in serious danger of identity theft through illegal access by identity thieves to your computer, smart phone or other devices.  Here at www.scamicide.com we strive to keep you informed of the latest security steps and patches you should be utilizing.  Apple has just announced that it has found vulnerabilities in its iPhone 3 GS, iPod Touch 4th generation and later and iPad 2 and later.

TIPS

If you have one of the affected devices, click on the following link to Apple’s instructions for remedying the problems.http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5642

Scam of the day – December 6, 2012 – Gift card scam followup

On November 26, 2012 I warned you about a gift card scam by which you reeive a text message informing you that you have won a gift card worth $1,000 or more from Target, Best Buy, Apple or WalMart.  Other companies’ names are also being misused, but these are the major companies that are presently being used to lure unsuspecting victims into clicking on a link in the email which takes them to websites where they fill in the requested information and promptly become in danger of becoming a victim of identity theft through the misuse of the personal information provided.  I am writing about this scam now because it appears to be increasing in frequencey as the holiday shopping season gets into full swing.  I also want to provide you with some additional tips on how to deal with this scam.

TIPS

My first tip is the same as always.  Don’t click on any link in  a text message or email unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate.  In any communication that purports to be from a business, you cannot be sure that the message and email is legitimate.  Scammers and identity thieves can make their messages and email look very official.  The risk of clicking on a link from a scammer is too great to take the chance .  In addition to luring you into providing information that can be used against you that leads to your becoming a victim of identity theft, clicking on the link may also cause a keystroke logging malware program to be downloaded on to your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone that can steal all of the information from your device and lead to your becoming a victim of an even more devastating identity theft.  If you have any thought that the message might be legitimate, call the company at a telephone number that you know is correct to find out if the message or email you received was a scam.   Do not respond to the text by declining the message or asking to be taken off of their list because all this does is alert the identity thief that your address is active.  If you do receive such an email, forward the message to your phone service provider by sending it to 7726 on your keypad.  This spells out “Spam” and your provider will block future messages from that number.

Scam of the day – September 17, 2012 – iPhone 5 scams

Identity thieves take advantage of every major event to their illegal ends and the launching of Apple’s new iPhone 5 is sure to be no exception to this rule.  There will be numerous scams and identity theft schemes revolving around the iPhone 5.  You may receive phony emails, text messages or Facebook messages telling you that you should click on a link to get the new iPhone at a dramatically discounted price.  You may receive phony emails, text messages or Facebook messages to click on a link for special information about the iPhone.  You may go to a  “discounter” who will sell you a new iPhone 5 only to find out that your box is empty or contains a worthless or even dangerous knockoff.  You may even receive an email or text message telling you that you have been selected to test the new iPhone 5 and will receive one free for your services.   They give you a link to click on for further information and details.  All of these are scams.  If you click on any of these links, you will download keystroke logging malware that will steal the information from your computer or other electronic device and make you a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

Never click on links unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate.  If you don’t know the source, don’t click on the link and even if you do know the source, it is risky to click on the link because a friend may unwittingly be passing on the malware to you.  Remember even messages that appear to come from your friends may be coming from identity thieves who have hacked into your friend’s email account or Facebook account.  If you want information about the iPhone, go to Apple’s website and if you want to purchase one, go to legitimate, well-established brick and mortar stores.