New Trends in Cyber Scams

According to the cyber security company Symantec — known for its Norton and LifeLock products — cyber criminals reached “new levels of ambition” last year. Below are some highlights of the firm’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report. Email One in 131 emails sent in 2016 contained a malware-laden link or attachment — the highest rate in five years. Malicious email, deemed “the weapon of choice,” is “a proven attack channel,” reports Symantec. “It doesn’t rely on vulnerabilities, but instead uses …

How to Efficiently Read a Privacy Policy

You may be concerned about your online privacy — and should be — but chances are you don’t read website privacy policies. Few people regularly do, and no surprise. The typical privacy policy is about 2,500 words, or roughly a 10-minute read, with enough legalese to make Perry Mason wince. Considering the typical American visits nearly 1,500 websites a year (each with a different privacy policy), it would take about 250 hours to completely read them all, Carnegie Mellon researchers …

8 Military-Themed Impostor Scams

As we remember our fallen heroes this Memorial Day weekend, let’s not forget a continuing battle facing others who served: military-themed impostor scams that prey on veterans, their families and everyday citizens who honor their sacrifice. Toll-free trickery. The latest con campaign against veterans: an impostor phone number that mimics that of the Veterans Choice Program (VCP), which allows certain vets to use approved health care providers outside of the VA system. In this years-old ruse, scammers buy phone numbers …

Most Likely to Be Scammed? Not Seniors, but Millennials

Gray-haired folk have long held “most scammed” status, but it may be time to pass on that unfortunate legacy. While the retirement-aged are targeted most often, data increasingly shows that it’s millennials — our children and grandchildren ages 18 to 35 — who are most likely to lose money to fraudsters. Consider these recent findings: Phone scams. About 1 in 10 American adults fell victim to phone scams last year, losing an estimated $9.5 billion in total. Leading the pack …

Virginia County Explores How Technology Can Help Aging Population

It’s clear that a majority of people want to remain independent as they age, and now technology can help them do so. As a Northern Virginia resident and an employee of AARP, I was drawn to a recent local event titled “Can Technology Help Older Arlingtonians Age Independently?” The event was the fourth installment of Arlington County’s Digital Destiny campaign, which seeks to explore the impact of the Digital Revolution on defined aspects of life for the county and its …

Mother’s Day Scams: Top Tricks to Dupe You (and Mom)

To that most special woman in our lives we eagerly pay tribute on Mother’s Day. And for next Sunday’s tributes, we’ll pay a record-breaking $23.6 billion — a $2 billion uptick over last year and some $9 billion more than is spent on Father’s Day. The coming days are prime time for crooks to cash in on the mother of all spring celebrations. Beware of these common Mother’s Day cons (and expect a slight tweaking in similar scams for Dad’s …