When you get an email or text or call or even mail in the mailbox – the scammers are doing their best to catch you off guard and make you worry. Scammers prey on emotions of victims.
I just got an email from “McAfee” that my protection was about to expire that day - so to click on the link (there was a photo of their product to click on) to renew. I know it was a scam – for one, my McAfee expired years ago when I got a different product that is better for my Mac. Two, it came to an email of mine that never was associated with McAfee. Norton or any protection. Three – when I hover over the email it was sent to, it’s a bunch of gobbledygook so it’s just sent to a lot of emails they collected.
I just renewed my protection a week ago, so I know it was bogus. The problem is that others in the email chain probably did not keep track of their expiration dates. It likely created a bit of panic for others. Put your expiration dates on your calendar and repeat it every year or whatever length of time you need to be alerted to renew, so you know,
I just got this email:
It looks like someone logged into your account from a device "iPhone XR" on 6 August, 2021. The login took place somewhere near Norfolk, VA, United States (IP = 22.214.171.124), and do something with your card.
Please verify your account information now, or your account will be locked permanent soon. (a gobbledygook link was next)
Obviously, this is bogus – hover on any link without clicking and you see it’s not my email address but a “catch-all” email they lump all emails into. The links to click do not go to what they say. “do something with your card” is not professional language. Apple doesn’t lock your account “soon” – so many red flags. Scammers prey on emotions to try to get people to act without thinking, I forwarded it to their fraud team.
The scams that come, whether saying you were charged for an order (click if it wasn’t your order), or you need to act fast, or your computer has a problem, etc., make sure there is an urgency. With urgency, one tends to act on emotions before thinking and that is what the scammer is counting on.
I know someone who clicked on one recently. Not only clicked but also called the number on the email – the scammer got into his computer and took over all his passwords, bank account, loan, credit cards and more. Then they also locked the computer. They he demanded $950 in Bitcoins to give back all the files. The email that came said “I’m your hacker… we made a video from your files, and it would be embarrassing for us to make it public… to keep it from getting published to the Internet, pay $950 in Bitcoins.” Turns out the old computer had no camera and there were no videos so there would be nothing of interest to upload. But others go into emotional panic thinking some compromising video will go public.
On that note - I got an email saying I had logged onto a porn site years ago and from it they have videos of me they will make public - but it is preying on emotions to make one panic or second guess. I just deleted the email, but others probably panic and might pay.
Scammers prey on emotions - and send out many emails, texts, calls and US mail to see how many they can affect. Many don't but others do panic and fall for the schemes. Think first, and don't react.
Back up your computer and phone regularly or at least every time you make a change (even if you save to OneNote or to the cloud – if someone gets your passwords, they can delete them or share them).
Make good passwords – nothing to do with you or the application. No “Norton” in the Norton password. Not your name or birthday. You might think of your pet’s birthday or cousin’s birthday, or something about a trip you took years ago. On your password list, take out the same number 5 (for example) and abbreviate (cub instead of cubby) when you write your passwords down. Don’t make it easy to guess.
Get a good protection for your computer that will scan for patches and block bad websites. If your phone can be included in the plan, go for it.
Be vigilant – scams are getting worse all the time. Oh – and once they tricked someone, they sell the victim’s contact information to more scammers. The scams increase. At that point, it might be better to get a new phone number and a new email.