Scam of the day – October 3, 2016 – Latest edition of most dangerous celebrities on the Internet

Each year, computer security company, McAfee releases a list of the most dangerous celebrities on the Internet.  These are people whose popularity is exploited by identity thieves and hackers who lure unsuspecting people through links in emails, social media and text messages relating to these celebrities to malware filled websites where they unknowingly download ransomware or keystroke logging malware that enables the identity thieves to steal all of the personal information from the victim’s computer, laptop, smartphone or other electronic device and use that information to make the person a victim of identity theft.  This year comedian Amy Schumer tops the list followed by Justin Bieber, Carson Daly, Will Smith, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Chris Hardwick, Daniel Tosh, Selena Gomez and Kesha.

TIPS

It is important to remember that merely because a website turns up high on a Google search does not mean that it is legitimate.  Google doesn’t check out websites for legitimacy in ranking sites.  The ranking is done by secret algorithms that some identity thieves are adept at manipulating.  Also, as I constantly warn you, never click on links or download attachments unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate.  Merely because it appears that a friend is passing them on to you does not make them legitimate.  As for celebrity videos and photos, you should have a healthy mistrust of websites with which you are not entirely familiar.  For gossip, www.tmz.com is a good place to go.  They always have the latest gossip and they are legitimate.  Finally make sure that you keep all of your electronic devices secure with anti-malware and anti-virus software and keep your security software current with the latest security patches.

Scam of the day – October 20, 2012 – Miley Cyrus sex tape scam

Curiosity killed the cat, but for we humans, it can too often lead to identity theft, which although certainly not as bad as death, can be pretty devastating.  The latest scam appealing to our curiosity is now appearing on Facebook pages where you will find an announcement about a breaking news story regarding a secret sex tape of Miley Cyrus.  If you click on the link in order to view the tape, a request for you to prove that you are over 18 appears.  When you fill in the information requested, it can not only lead to your identity theft, but can also allow the identity thief to steal your Facebook information so that Facebook messages from the scammer/identity thief will appear to be coming from you which will make your friends more likely to trust the message and end up becoming victims of identity theft themselves.  By the way, there is no such sex tape.

TIPS

Never trust links provided by anyone on your Facebook page or anywhere else without checking out their validity first.  Links luring you with promises of sex tapes of Miley Cyrus or nude pictures of princess Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William (which do actually exist) or anything else that would tempt you to click on the link are an effective way for identity thieves and scammers to trick you into downloading viruses or keystroke logging malware that can steal all of the information from your computer and make you a victim of identity theft.  If you want to check out the veracity of a gossip, a safe place to go is www.tmz.com.  And of course, as I always say, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone;”  even if you receive an email, text or Facebook message from someone you trust, you can’t be sure that either they have been hacked and the message is coming from a scammer or they are inadvertently passing on tainted links that they don’t realize contains a virus.