Scam of the day – March 8, 2013 – Dangerous links

Once again I had to go no farther than my own email box for today’s scam of the day f0r two examples of scams that operate by getting you to click on tainted links.  Never click on links in an email unless you are absolutely positive that they are legitimate.  When they come, as did the emails copies below, it is easy to see that they are just an attempt to get you and me to click on the links using whatever bait they think will work.  However, other times the email may appear to come from a friend of yours.  The problem is that you cannot be sure that your friend’s email account has not been hacked and that it is an identity thief who is sending you the link.  Other times, even if you independently confirm that it actually is your friend who sent you the link, you can’t be sure that the link he or she sent is not one that is tainted and that he or she is unwittingly passing along.  It is always important to confirm that not just the sender, but the link itself is legitimate before clicking on any links.  The problem with clicking on the tainted link is that by clicking on the link, you unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that steals all of the information from your computer and ends up making you a victim of identity theft.

Here are two examples of emails I got today with tainted links.   DO NOT CLICK ON THESE LINKS.

“Couldnt believe this in our area.. Click here to read it.”

“Read this please. Click this link.”

Interestingly enough, the first email came under the heading of “Safety First” while the second came under the heading of “smoking.”

TIPS

As I have indicated above, do not click on any link in an email until you have verified both the identity of the real sender and the legitimacy of the link itself.  Also make sure that you have a Firewall and good security software installed on your computer and always kept up to date.  It is also important to keep the same kind of security software in place and up to date on your tablet, smartphone and other portable devices where you might download material.  Too many people neglect security software for their portable devices.  For more information, check out my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”

Scam of the day – December 3, 2012 – New ransomware developments

The FBI has issued a new warning about a scam that uses the name of the Internet Crime Complaint Center (which is a legitimate law enforcement agcency) to extort money from unwary computer users.  I warned you about this scam in Scams of the Day for both July 9, 2012 and August 8, 2012.  In its present incarnation, malware is downloaded on to your computer through the usual means such as when the victim unwittingly clicks on a tainted link in an email or goes to a phishing website that appears to be a legitimate website and downloads the malware on to the victim’s computer.  The malware then causes the victim’s computer to freeze at which point a message comes up telling the victim that the Internet Crime Complaint Center has determined that the victim has downloaded illegal child pornography.  The victim then is told that he or she can avoid further prosecution by paying a fine by way of a prepaid money card.

TIPS

Don’t pay the ransom.  The Internet Crime Complaint Center would never extort money from you in this fashion and even if you do pay the exorted funds to the scammer, the malware remains on your computer and most likely you will be contacted again with another extortion claim.  You should file a complaint with the real Internet crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.  You also should have your computer examined for malware and viruses.  Once it is located and removed, you should make sure that your security software is up to date so that you  are protected from these types of attacks in the future.  Finally, you should be more careful in the future to avoid downloading malware and viruses.  Throughout scamicide.com you will find tips for how to do this.