We live in a world with smartphones and smart TV, yet we’re not always aware of what these technologies can do – especially in today’s time where scammers are getting much more sophisticated in the techniques they use to scam others. What types of tricks are being used? How can we scam the scammers?
Sneak when you surf
A growing number of cyber attacks are arriving via “drive-by download,” states Reader’s Digest. You can visit a website but, in the background, you are redirected to a series of other sites that send you an attack. Often even the website’s owner doesn’t know the site has been compromised. Although search engines keep blacklists of known malicious sites, the bad sites are continuously changing.
A way to outsmart them would be by making sure you install all available updates to your browser, or use a browser that automatically updates, like Firefox. Research has found that Internet Explorer users are most vulnerable to these attacks.
Smart TV and baby monitors
Remember, your smart device is essentially a computer—and chances are, it’s not a particularly secure one, states Reader’s Digest. Anything in your house that’s connected to the Internet, from your smart fridge to your climate-control system, can be hacked. In several recent incidents, hackers were able to hijack a baby monitor and yell at a baby. Experts have also shown how hackers can turn on a smart TV’s camera and spy on you.
When setting up smart devices, always change the default password. Most of these devices work from your wireless router, so password protecting your WiFi can also help. Keep up with firmware updates; many devices will inform you when there’s an update available. Otherwise, look for an Update Firmware option in the main menu or settings.
With online dating, it seems that scammers have found new ways in doing their job, according to CSO online. The key to most romance scams is that the victim and the date have never met in person, or if they did, they didn’t look anything like the beautiful person in the photograph. If they’ve Skyped over the internet, the scammer’s voice or accent changes over time. If voice changes are challenged, usually the scammer comes up with a scenario like they have a cold or that their accent changed because they have traveled to a new foreign country and are “unintentionally” picking up a new accent.
No matter what web site you’ve met on, a scammer will want to move the victim to a personal email account that has nothing to do with the original web site you met on, states CSO Online. The scammer is usually trying to pull off hundreds to thousands of dating scams at once and their current fake persona profile will likely be removed after enough complaints. They need to move the victims to an offsite email account where their conversations can be continued in private and without getting interrupted by the authorities.
Typos on web address
According to Reader’ Digest, fake sites with slightly altered URLs like micrososft.com or chse.com look surprisingly similar to the real site you meant to visit, but they’re designed to steal your data or install malware on your computer. Double-check the site’s address before logging in with your name and password, especially if the home page looks different. Check for https in the address before typing in your credit card information.
“Can You Hear Me?” and “Yes” calls
According to Experian, this scam happens when you answer the phone, and the person on the other line asks: “Can you hear me?” and you respond, “Yes.” Your voice is being recorded to obtain a voice signature for scammers authorize fraudulent charges over the phone. You can visit the FCC website to block any unwanted calls. The BBB Scam Tracker received more than 10,000 reports on the “Can you hear me?” scam, but none of the reports resulted in an actual loss of money. Try not to pick up to calls that seem suspicious.
Work from home scams
It is becoming more common for people to look for ways to supplement their income, and job listings for “work-from-home” jobs are becoming more popular because they are so convenient, says the Laconia Daily Sun. Scammers already know this and use this knowledge to target their victims. There are some easy ways to spot this scam early. If the “company” offers high pay for very little work, or doesn’t require any previous experience, it may be a scam. Be especially cautious of employers who require you to pay for training up front with the promise of paying you back once you start the job.
Conduct research on every employer you are considering. Sometimes, newspapers or websites may unknowingly share advertisements for services that are actually listed by scammers. Report them directly to the website or newspaper, as well as the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and the New Hampshire Attorney General.