Tag Archives: Don’t

Don’t Get Caught by Phishing Scams

Don’t Get Caught by Phishing Scams

Have you ever received an e-mail that was just too good to be true? Were you ever personally selected by an African prince who was willing to share a portion of his millions with you for a small favor, and of course your bank account information so he could send it to you? While these scammers certainly had some takers, many people recognize these types of scams. Many people know if it sounds to good to be true, it isn’t true and it certainly won’t be good. These types of scams are referred to as “phishing,” pronounced just like “fishing,” because thieves are in fact baiting people for personal information that they can use to steal from them.

As the public has become more suspicious, phishing scammers have become even savvier. Instead of offering the public something too good to be true, they began sending messages too scary to ignore. Many fell victim to phishing schemes where consumers believed they were being contacted by trusted Amazon.com or PayPal. E-mail messages were sent out telling victims that their accounts may have been compromised and they needed to click on the provided link, log-in and change their passwords in order to protect their accounts. Instead of protecting themselves, victims were handing over their information to thieves.

Some e-mail accounts will “catch” these phishing e-mails before they catch you but there is also software that can be installed with detection programming that recognize more standard phishing messages. With software, most of these messages should be delivered to your junk mail or spam mail boxes. Even with reliable protection, as phishing schemes become more sophisticated you need to take further steps to protect your identity and personal information.

What can you do to protect yourself from phishing scams?

1) NEVER give out any personal information, even something as simple as your address unless a person is known to you and you are certain you are on a secure on line site with encryption.

2) Be sure to use spam and phishing control options on your e-mail account and carefully monitor your e-mail messages.

3) Be very suspicious of any e-mail message that asks for personal or especially credit card information. Beware of any e-mail that asks you to click a link provided as it may take you to an unsafe site. Remember, if your information has been compromised your bank or service providers will contact you by regular mail not e-mail.

4) You can also utilize Snopes.com for information on scams, frauds, urban myths or viruses before responding. If you forward e-mails, they may contain tracking information and that puts your contacts at risk as well.

5) Use a software program that protects against phishing. Some antivirus and anti spyware programs also protect against phishing. Know your features and whether or not your protection program includes phishing. Software by Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky and Panda may meet your needs.

6) Never respond to these messages. It confirms they’ve reached you and continues the cycle.

7) Rather than click on a link provided, close the e-mail, open a new window, type in the address of the company (such as Amazon) and check their site for this information.

Lastly, it is so important to report any of these schemes to the institution being misrepresented. This helps stop phishing in more than one way. The institution can attempt to stop the fraud and they can also warn other customers. Additionally, creators of phishing detection and protection programs can use this information to improve their products and better protect consumers from phishing scams and identity theft. By becoming knowledgeable of phasing scams and following these tips, you can avoid taking the bait and being reeled in by identity theft cons.

Don’t Get Ripped Off by Online Scammers – Review Important Tips to Protect Yourself

Don’t Get Ripped Off by Online Scammers – Review Important Tips to Protect Yourself

Despite how computer savvy many of us are, we still occasionally fall victim to the online scammer. Sometimes the contact is very sophisticated, as in a well-designed phishing message. (Hey, I once bit on a message that supposedly came from Microsoft.)

Other times you just sit back and laugh at the absurdity of the e-mail, until you realize that someone somewhere has just been taken for a ride. Scammers will never go away, so it’s useful to periodically review some of the more common elements you will find in fraudulent messages. Being aware of these will help keep you from becoming victimized.

No salutation (“Mr. Jones,” “Hi, Bob!”) – Of course. The spammer knows that the message is going to thousands of people. If he put a particular name in there, and it’s not yours, you’d quickly delete the message.

Poor English – Many of the online scammers live in parts of the world where English is not a native language. Consequently, the text can be really odd. I recently received an e-mail with the subject line, “I am very interesting you.” (The line was repeated in the body of the message.) Do your friends and family members write like that?

Request for money – Fraudulent solicitations ask for money upfront to pay for “taxes,” fees and other expenses. You’re asked to wire the money then wait for your share of the lottery or other pot of gold. What you get instead is a steady stream of requests for more money. Of course, you’ll never receive a dime from the supposed lottery or inheritance. Legitimate entities don’t require advance money to collect the award.

Request for personal or financial data – Thieves posing as bank officials claim they’re investigating suspicious activity on your accounts. Once they have your information, you can bet there will be all sorts of suspicious activity. They will empty your bank accounts and run up purchases on your credit cards. Financial institutions never ask for this sort of information unless you initiate the contact.

No name at the end – For the same reason you’re unlikely to see a salutation. If you don’t recognize the name associated with the message, you’re less likely to respond.

Bad URL associated with links – If in doubt, place your cursor over a link in the message (DO NOT click!!). The URL will show up in the task bar. You’ll quickly see that instead of say, microsoft.com, the address is really something entirely different.

Another sage piece of advice: Slow down. In these fast-paced times, we tend to get careless in managing all the information that crosses our desk and computer screen. You can’t possibly hope to process all the e-mails, Tweets, and other messages you receive in just a few moments. Scammers are counting on that. It’s why people fall for an innocent-sounding subject line like, “I have something important to show you.”

Even if it appears to come from someone you know, take a couple moments to review the message carefully.  Better yet, fire off a message to the supposed sender asking about it. Chances are you’ll find the e-mail was bogus. By pausing to reflect on the message, you can save yourself enormous headaches later.

Online scammers are constantly thinking up new ways to beat firewalls and anti-virus software. No software is as sophisticated as the human mind, however. By keeping the above hints in mind, you minimize the chance of falling victim to an online scam.

Don’t Get Suckered by PayPal Phishers

Don’t Get Suckered by PayPal Phishers

Just recently, my brother in law had $ 5,000 stolen from his bank account by a phishing scam artist. Since he wasn’t the most Internet savvy person I know, I wasn’t all too surprised when this happened. However, even experienced online users are falling prey to these scammers. This includes veteran Internet marketers.

One of the biggest problems any online marketer must face is the horde of PayPal phishing scam artists lurking in the shadows. To avoid being scammed, some marketers have decided not to use PayPal entirely, which is basically cutting off your nose to spite your face. With a little self-education and some common sense, you can easily avoid becoming their next victim.

The first thing you need to know is the common types of emails the phishers are sending.

The most popular is the email explaining that that your account needs to be updated. There is then a link inside the body of the email encouraging you to click it and update your information. A twist on this email is one stating there was some illegal activity in your account. Again you will be encouraged to click on a URL that looks like it is from PayPal.

Some other common fraud emails you may receive could state your PayPal password has been changed or you have received a payment and you need to sign-in to collect it

The point of these emails, no matter what form they are in, is to get you to give up your login information. The URL in the body will always look like it leads to PayPal, but once you click the link, you will notice the URL is entirely different and not related to PayPal at all. This is an obvious tip off that the email is a fraud.

Remember, these scam artists just mass mail out to as many email addresses as they possibly can. So another easy way to know if the email is in fact a scam, is if the address the email has been sent to is not even registered with your PayPal account.

Of course the best way to handle these emails is to never click on the link. If you feel there may be a problem with your PayPal account, log into your account and see if there are any alert notices from PayPal. If you are still unsure, you can always send a support email to PayPal, just to be on the safe side.