Scammers are always finding ways to take what is in the news and make it the basis of a scam. The reasons for doing so are obvious. If you are aware or even concerned about something in the news, you are more likely to fall victim to a scam related to that newsworthy matter. Such is the case now with a scam related to the recent Congressional passage of a bill that would overturn Internet Service Provider privacy regulations enacted last year. With the imminent overturning of these regulations, Internet Service Providers will be able without your specific knowledge to maintain records of everything you do online and sell that information to companies who may wish to use that information. In its more benign form, you may find yourself receiving online advertisements for products that you may have searched for online, however, the threat to your privacy presented by the rescinding of the previously enacted privacy protection regulations cannot be overstated.
Now scammers are taking advantage of this concern and are sending out carefully crafted spear phishing emails directed to you personally by name that indicate that you have been found to have committed fraudulent conduct online by a company monitoring your online usage and that the information is going to be sent to law enforcement. The email purports to provide the incriminating evidence in an attachment for you to see. It is easy to imagine how someone confronted with such an email would immediately download the attachment to find out details. Unfortunately, anyone downloading the attachment would only succeed in downloading keystroke logging malware that would enable the scammer to steal all of the information in your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.
Never click on links in emails or download attachments unless you have absolutely confirmed that they are legitimate. In this instance, a little research would have shown that the email was a scam.
It is also important to remember that the privacy regulations recently rescinded only related to Internet Service Providers. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon have been gathering and selling information about you for a long time. Unknown to many people, every time you click “like” on Facebook, that information is stored and used by Facebook.
For enhanced privacy online you should go to Facebook, YouTube, Google and every other website you use and see what privacy rights you have and how you can set your preferences to a level with which you would be comfortable.
You also should consider using a Virtual Private Network while doing online browsing. This will enable you to maintain your anonymity online. Here is a link to information about some free VPNs. http://top5-vpn.com/free-vpn-services/