13 Simple Steps to Protect Your Privacy

Simple steps can go a long way in protecting your privacy from prying eyes, including those belonging to on-the-lookout scammers. Here are some of the easiest and (usually) free safeguards to reduce your risk of scams, hacking and other dastardly deeds. Password-protect every device you own — smartphone, PC, laptop and tablet — with a PIN that isn’t among these commonly used and most-often hacked: 0000, 1111, 1212, 1234, 2580 (middle column of phone keypad) or 5555. Also avoid your …

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 …

Post-Disaster Scams: Fallout Fraud from Hurricane Harvey (and Future Catastrophes)

After devastating parts of Texas with record rainfall in what the National Weather Service described as “beyond anything experienced,” expect a flood of Hurricane Harvey-themed fraud to continue…even after the waters recede. That’s because of what’s already been experienced after virtually every other major natural disaster: Scams that prey on those whose lives and homes have already been destroyed, as well as good-hearted strangers hoping to help from thousands of miles away. Here’s a timeline of what to expect in …

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 …

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 …

5 Ways to Spot Skimmer Scams Before You Use an ATM or Gas Pump

Skimming fraud has been around for more than a decade, and continues to evolve. Today’s skimmers – illegal card-reading devices placed on ATMs, gas pumps and other public-area machines that process debit cards – are stealthier and more sophisticated than ever. These devices “skim” information from the card’s magnetic strip as a nearby hidden camera, also placed by skimming scammers, records the PIN that you enter. Although you get your cash or can make a purchase – none the wiser …