Keeping you safer online

The Office Photo Scam

Avoid posting photos on social media that include a work computer or a conference room.


If the photo of a workplace computer or information on a whiteboard is clear enough to read, fraudsters can steal information.


Even if the photo is small or slightly blurry, fraudsters can identify icons that appear on a computer desktop such as the type of anti-virus that’s installed.


The fraudster uses that information to sound credible when calling an employee, posing as someone from tech support.


Last year, this trick helped law enforcement catch the man behind one of the world's biggest robocalling operations.

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The Gameplayer Text Scam

Fraudsters are playing games online, so be careful what you disclose in chats.

Many web and app-based games like Fortnite and “Words with Friends” allow players to chat with each other.


Crooks masquerade as players who need money right away to solve a personal crisis or are interested in information about the player's employer. Patient fraudsters establish a casual relationship with the unsuspecting player over the course of days or weeks, gradually piecing together information that can be used for fraud.


Kids are at risk, too. The FBI says parents should monitor their children's online gameplay and ensure that children don't disclose personal information to strangers. 

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The Account Verification Scam

It's an old scam that still works: no, your social media account doesn’t need to be “verified.”

An email arrives, warning you that your social media account will be suspended "soon" if you don’t click the link and verify who you are. Ignore that message!


This scam is still one of the most common because so many people fall for it.


Victims click the link to "verify" the account by entering their password. This allows fraudsters to gain access, take over the account, and lock the user out. Since many of us still use the same passwords on multiple accounts, it gives fraudsters access to other accounts.

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The Targeted Victim Scam

If anyone is able to view your social media account, crooks will take advantage of it.


If the setting on your social media accounts allows “friends of friends” or the “public” to view your posts, fraudsters can cause big trouble. Here's an example. 


Last year, a large US company’s accounting system was breached because of an employee's Facebook post. The fraudster identified the employee on LinkedIn, searched Facebook for her personal posts and saw that her son played high school basketball, downloaded the team's practice schedule, embedded a virus in the document, and emailed the “revised schedule” to her from an email address that was similar to the coaches.


The victim opened the document on a work laptop computer, exposing the company's accounting system to the computer virus. 

Brinks _ ID Theft.001.jpeg

Sources: FBI, Zynga, Verizon, PCMag

Click the image below 

to download and print these examples.

Aware Force _ Social Media

Time to change your password.

If you have a personal email account that ends in, or, you should log in and change the account's password. 

Microsoft says an unknown number of those email accounts were breached earlier this year, giving hackers access to some — but not all — account information.

The vast hidden area of the internet called the "Dark Web", where many hackers hang out, is rarely visited by the average computer user.

How much of the web is accessible when you search for something? 

The clear web: all the public websites available via Google and other search engines

The deep web: requires passwords to view; includes webpages such as your bank and bill pay and private intranets.

The dark web: content viewable only by using a special web browser called "TOR." Good and bad deeds happen here.


Georgia State University's Dr. Don Hunt is an expert in electronic crime, digital payments and cyber policy. Hunt says users of the dark web remain anonymous, which is dangerous when criminals use it to attack organizations, but useful for people who want to alert authorities to wrongdoing.

By reading anonymous posts on the dark web, relief agencies can find out what items are needed to help people. In one case, what people needed was a link to the outside world. Click the arrow to listen.

But bad things do exist on the dark web. Dangerous software that damages computers and costs organizations huge financial losses often originates here. Click the arrow to listen.

Hackers are not all-powerful! The most important step in avoiding them is to pay attention before clicking a link in an email or downloading an attachment. Click the arrow to listen.

One last thing...

In the upcoming edition of Aware Force:
5 ways to keep critical information safe from hackers

Cyber Cartoon:

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE © 2015 Stephan Pastis. Reprinted by permission of


Outlook is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. 

April 2019 b • Edition #68

Original content and design © 2019 Aware Force LLC

Aware Force trademark © 2019 Aware Force LLC