Tuesday, July 19, 2016


"Phishing" scams are when criminals try to collect your credit card numbers, log-in credentials and other information in order to steal your identity. These scams have more than doubled in the past year, reports social media security company Proofpoint. Many of these look so realistic and the responses seem so convincing that it is easy to fall for them. (1) TWITTER TRICKS Cybercrooks create fake social media accounts to pose as customer-care reps by adding an extra character to a corporate name. The phishing mission is to intercept messages sent to you from a legitimate company. For example, you tweet a question to a bank's customer service twitter account and a scammer that is monitoring these tweets responds from a Twitter account with a slightly different name. The crook requests your log-in code and account number by providing a link to a fake website. Devin Redmond, vice president of social media security and compliance at Proofpoint explains, "The customer not only expects the response, he or she welcomes it, and has incentive to follow the link". (2) LIVE-STREAM LIES Similar to media companies that stream their own TV shows and movies online, scammers offer their own programming. They typically promise free viewing of a big game, hot concert or other popular event. The phishing mission is on social media pages posting tempting comments. Criminals promise free access to a live stream by clinking a link. This will bring you to a website that will ask for credit card and personal details. Most of the time you will be offered a free trial that can be canceled at any time. After providing the information, you probably will not see anything because the promised stream does not exist. But look for a monthly charge on your credit card after the "free trial" expires. (3) FAKE FREEBIES AND DISCOUNTS Crooks claim to offer free or dirt-cheap products and services by setting up bogus social media pages that look like those of legitimate companies. The phishing mission to get important information from you to be used for identity theft or to sold on the black market. Your credit card number is asked supposedly for shipping and handing charges for the faux freebies. (4) CONTEST CONS AND SURVEY SWINDLES Thieves promise a prize for completing an online survey in these schemes. The phishing mission lets the scammers know your personal information by filling out this survey. For example, your occupation, income and spending habits. (5) GOSSIP GOTCHAS Among the internet's most-typed and most dangerous search terms are coupled with terms such as "video" and "picture". This goes for social media also. The phishing mission is getting you curious about Hollywood's elite, sports superstars and other household names by teasing you into clicking on links about these folks. They promise scandalous video and reports for which you provide your credit card information.

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