Beware of Fake Funeral Notices

With the latest malware campaign aimed at hijacking sensitive computer files and online accounts, scammers have sunk to a new low - specifically, six feet under. Cybercrooks are emailing fake funeral notifications. Stealing the names and logos of legitimate funeral homes, they appear to be an e-invite to a funeral or remembrance service for an unnamed friend or acquaintance. The gotcha is a link, alleged to provide details about the “upcoming celebration of your friend’s life service.” Click it and “instead …

1-Click Tricks in Valentine’s Day Scams

It’s not just hearts that are stolen come Valentine’s Day. Also at risk: Your money, identity and sensitive computer files and online accounts – thanks to the many opportunities to infect computers with malware this love-filled season. True, most attention – and the biggest financial losses – occurs with “long-con” romance scams. That’s when crooks (often part of overseas organized crime rings) scroll dating websites and chat rooms, inventing fake identities tailored to their victims’ interests. After weeks or months …

How Target-Like Breaches Occur (P.S. More Are Expected)

Maybe you are among the 110 million Target shoppers whose payment card or personal information was hacked during the recent holiday shopping season. Perhaps you are one of the 1 million-plus Neiman Marcus customers whose data was exposed in a 2013 breach just recently announced. Been to Michael’s lately? The arts and crafts retailer is the latest well-known company whose customer payment details were reportedly stolen in the same type of data breach. How are con artists doing it - and which …

Cyber Scam Predictions for 2014

As the year closes, leading online security vendors are looking into their crystal balls – or rather, reviewing recent trends of trickery – to predict the top cyber scams of 2014. Some notables worth a mention: TVs watching you. Many traditionally “dumb” devices are getting “smarter” – televisions, gaming systems and even baby monitors are being connected to the Internet and often contain cameras or microphones. So, many cybercops predict them to be a magnet for attack, such as remote spying. …

Vicious New Malware Steals Files Forever

It’s always a good idea to back up your computer files. But now, it’s a great idea. An especially nasty form of “ransomware” – known as CryptoLocker – was recently discovered that puts computer users at risk of losing their files forever. Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter In most forms of ransomware, infected computers freeze up and are essentially held hostage until a ransom is paid. One common scheme: False messages claiming to be from the FBI, accusing you …

Government Shutdown Scams – the Latest Gotcha

The federal government shutdown has created new opportunities for scammers to revise some tried-and-true schemes — they pose as employees of Uncle Sam at a time when the real ones are on furlough. Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter Some examples: 1. Scammers call warning that because of the shutdown, you need to immediately re-enroll in Medicare or risk losing benefits. You may be asked for personal information that needs “verification” or you may be directed to a website …