Scam of the day – July 16, 2016 – Google warning Gmail users about foreign hackers

State sponsored hacking from countries such as China, North Korea and Russia pose a threat to everyone, but Google, which has for years been monitoring hacking attempts by foreign governments, is notifying Gmail customers when Google has reason to believe that their Gmail accounts are being targeted.  If Google finds that you have been targeted you will receive the following message that takes up your entire screen warning you of the danger and urging you to use the more security dual factor authentication.  In its warning, Google indicates that less than 0.1% of all Gmail accounts are targeted, however, it is important to note that this percentage translates into more than a million people who are in jeopardy.

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TIPS

As I have suggested many times, whenever you have the opportunity to use dual factor authentication, it is a wise choice to make because even if someone manages to steal your password or even trick you into providing it, as was the case with Jennifer Lawrence when she was convinced by a phishing email to provide her password to a cybercriminal who used it to access nude photos of her that she stored in the cloud, the hacker will not be able to access your email or other account because a special code provided to you through your cell phone is required whenever you wish to gain access to your account.

Finally, as I so often say, even paranoids have enemies so I urge you to err on the side of caution if you receive this type of notice and not necessarily trust it.  It could be a phishing communication from a cybercriminal luring you into clicking on a link which will either get you to provide personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft or will download keystroke logging malware or ransomware.  The best course of action would be to merely go to Google directly from your browser without clicking on the link contained in the notification.  Here is a link you can trust that will take you to instructions for enabling dual factor authentication for Gmail  https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185839?hl=en

Scam of the day – March 30, 2013 – New Google security patches

As I often remind you, it is important to constantly update your computer software with the latest security patches to help protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.  Identity thieves constantly exploit exposed vulnerabilities in commonly used software in order to make you a victim of identity theft.  It is a constant battle between the software companies and the hackers and it is critical that as new vulnerabilities are discovered and patches are developed that you install them as soon as possible to maintain your security.  Google has just released  Google Chrome 26.0.1410.43  which is a security patch for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome Frame.

TIPS

Here is a link that you should go to in order to update your Google Chrome software: http://googlechromereleases.blogspot.com/search/label/Stable%20updates

Scam of the day – June 28, 2012 – New phony government website scam

As I recently indicated in a recent “scam of the day,” technologically savvy scammers have used their knowledge of the algorithms used by Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines to have the phony websites of the scammers come to the top of the list when you look for a legitimate website.  Recently in North Carolina, Lloyd Scher wanting to renew a driver’s license went online to get the phone number of the Deparment of Motor Vehicles of North Carolina and the search engine took him to a scammers website where he would have been charged for getting free forms.  Fortunately, Scher recognized that it was a scam and did not fall for the scam.

TIP

Whenever you go to a government website, it should end with “gov.”  This particular website ended with “com.”  Don’t provide personal information on line unless you are sure that the website is legitmate and never provide information that you think the website should not need.  Also never provide personal information unless the domain name starts with “https.”  The key is the letter “s” which indicates that  the information you provide is being encrypted.  Trust me.  You can’t trust anyone.  Just because a search engine brings up a website does not mean that it is legitimate.

Scam of the day – June 10, 2012 – Home loan modification scams

A new wave of home loan modification scams is sweeping across the country.  The Washington State Attorney General just issued a warning to residents of that state, but his warning should be heeded by homeowners everywhere.  What many of these scams have in common is a promise that they can assist you in modifying your home loan to a more affordable monthly payment.  Often the companies have names that sound official or like a law firm and the advertisements for these companies appear in the legitimate media on radio, television and trusted newspapers.  One thing that they all have in common is an upfront fee of between $1,500 and $5,000.

TIPS

Never pay an upfront fee for any company offering to assist you in a loan modification.  Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau and your state Attorney General.  Also, Google the name of the company with the word “scam” and see what comes up.  Also, remember merely because you learn about a company offering these services from legitimate media sources does not in anyway mean that the company is approved by or been checked out by the media carrying the advertisement.