Scam of the day – July 25, 2012 – Olympic scams part 1

With the Olympics only a few days away, many of us are excited about watching this great event, but our excitement should also be tempered by awareness of the many scams that will emanate from the Olympics and the media coverage of it.  Over the next few days, I will discuss some of the scams of which you should be aware.  Many phony websites will be set up to provide Olympic coverage and may even appear high on the list of your search engine searches.  These phony websites will carry some legitimate information and videos, but while you are watching a pop up window will appear to inform you that your computer has been infected, but that you can click on the pop up to clear your computer of the virus.  Don’t do it.  By clicking on the pop up, you will be, in fact, downloading keystroke logging malware that can read and steal all of the information on your computer, such as your passwords, Social Security number and credit card numbers leading to identity theft.

TIPS

When looking for information and coverage of the Olympics stay with websites that you know are legitimate and if you do go to a site where the pop up scenario telling you that your computer has been infected occurs, don’t click on the pop up because you have no idea what will happen when you do.  If your computer security software has been constantly updating you should be fine.  Even if you have not been updating your security software, leave the website immediately without clicking on the pop up and do a scan with your own computer security software.

Scam of the day – July 23, 2012 – Aurora Colorado shootings scams

As distasteful as it is to imagine, there will be a number of scams that will be occurring during the upcoming days and weeks related to the shootings at the theater in Aurora, Colorado where the opening night of the new Batman movie was being screened.  These scams follow a pattern of scammers taking advantage of the public curiosity and obsession whenever a major event happens, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden or the Japanese Tsunami.  One of the most common forms that these scams will take will be emails or messages on your Facebook page with links to “exclusive” video footage of some intriguing aspect of the event.  Often the link sent to you on your Facebook page will be from a “friend” although it will, most likely not be from a real friend, but from a friend whose Facebook page has been hacked into and taken over so that you trust the message when you receive it.  As I always say, trust me, you can’t trust anyone and you can trust me on that.  If you click on these links, they will download keystroke logging malware that will steal all of your personal information from your computer and make you a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

Never click on links that you get from friends on Facebook or emails until you have confirmed that they have actually sent you the link and even then you probably are better off considering whether the link that they are sending came from a reliable source or are they unwittingly passing on malware.  Get your videos and other information only from sources that you know are legitimate and keep your computer security software up to date.

Scam of the day – July 2, 2012 – New text message identity theft threat

The Missouri Attorney General is warning people about phony text messages that people are receiving on their smartphones saying that the person receiving the text has just won a free Walmart or Costco gift card.  However, when people click on the link they receive no prize, but they do download on to their smartphone keystroke logging malware that can enable the identity thief who sent the text  message to steal personal information from their phone that can lead to their becoming a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

By no means is this threat unique to Missouri, this identity theft scheme is being used throughout the country.  Never trust any text message or email message that tells you that you have won a contest that you have not entered and never click on any link unless you are absolutely positive that the link is legitimate.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  If you have any doubts, check with your local attorney general or the real company that is supposedly sponsoring the contest.