There’s No Question About FBI ‘Questionnaire’ Email: It’s a New Ransomware Scam

The latest ransomware scam to seize control of computers and hold their contents hostage: an email with emblems of both the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that falsely demands completing an FBI questionnaire “required” by a new law on tax compliance. It looks like this:                   While it may appear official, it’s all a lie – an attempt to lure recipients to click on a link to access …

New Make-A-Wish Scam a Triple Threat That Swindled $20 Million Last Time

A new scam feigning the Make-A-Wish Foundation goes beyond just being despicable for exploiting the respected name of a national charity helping children with life-threatening medical conditions. It combines a trio of the most successful types of schemes – sweepstakes scams, charity scams, and government imposter scams – increasingly used by telephoning fraudsters, and mimics a near-identical ruse seven years ago that bilked older Americans out of $20 million. Scammers posing as employees of the Federal Trade Commission or non-existent …

IRS: Identity Theft on Business Tax Returns Soaring

While tax-related identity theft against individual taxpayers is on the downswing, fraudsters have increased efforts on another front to obtain illicit refunds: Stealing identities of legitimate American companies to file bogus business tax returns. In the first five months of this year, the Internal Revenue Service flagged some 10,000 business returns for suspected tax-related identity theft – a 250 percent increase from the 4,000 cases in all of 2016 and 2,757 percent uptick from 350 suspected cases in 2015. The …

The Reign of Spain? Riskiest Vacation Destinations for Hacking Mobile Devices

If you’re heading overseas this popular vacation month, don’t underestimate the risks of your smartphone, tablet or other portable devices being hacked…even when visiting countries not typically associated with cybercrime. True, the U.S. leads all popular vacation destinations in overall mobile threats, where hacking of files and data on hand-held devices occurs about 5 million times per year, according to Keeper Security, a Chicago-based password manager firm. (Previous research by Symantec, which makes Norton antivirus products, indicates the riskiest American …

Rigged Carnival Games: Are You Being Played When Playing Midway Classics?

Heading to a summer carnival or state fair? Don’t worry so much about looking foolish carrying an oversized stuffed teddy bear en route to that funnel cake feast. The bigger concern should be in feeling foolish after dropping a wad of cash trying to win that plushy prize, but winding up with empty hands and pockets. Although not every carnival game is rigged, all can be and many are – making those near impossible to win in hopes you keep …

“Smishing” Self-Defense: How to Prevent Trouble That Comes in Text Messages

Each day about 20 billion text messages are sent to 2 billion smartphone users worldwide. Most of these texts are opened within three minutes, and many within a few seconds. The massive number of text messages and their rapid-fire response rate (by comparison, only one in four email messages are opened within 10 minutes of arrival) amount to an unbridled opportunity for fraudsters exploiting the du jour device for deception: the handheld computer that also happens to make phone calls, …