Nearly anyone can be a mark for scammers under the right circumstances.
We’re optimists — we don’t think bad things will happen to us.
We’re nice. Too often, we don’t just hang up on a caller who is pressuring us to make a decision.
We tend to respond to texts and emails quickly when stressed or lonely because we want the positive news in them to be true.
We often believe messages from those in "authority," like a bank, an executive where we work, or the IRS, Social Security Administration, or Medicare.
We’re concerned about our money. We often believe scammers who demand payment, promise free stuff, a lucrative job offer, or can help get us out of financial trouble.
Most of us trust others
because we’re trustworthy ourselves.
Psychologist Joni Johnston on why
sharp, intelligent people get scammed.
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According to the cybersecurity company Check Point, roughly half of all phishing emails this year refer to the business platform LinkedIn. Recipients are instructed to click on a link in the email and log in with their LinkedIn username and password to receive an important message such as a job offer. Providing that information gives crooks access to the user’s LinkedIn account.
Scammers are taking advantage of the baby formula shortage across the US. The Federal Trade Commission says phishing emails and texts offer parents immediate delivery of baby formula for a hefty fee. One clue the offer is fake: scammers demand payment in gift cards, bank wire transfers, or Bitcoin.
It may not seem like the number of robocalls is dropping, but CNET says regulations against illegal, automated calls are working. By the end of June, new safety regulations will affect smaller cellular companies forcing them to crack down on robocalls. You can prevent unwanted calls by clicking on your phone’s “settings” button and activating “silence unknown (or ‘unidentified’) calls.” But first, make sure vital names and phone numbers are stored in your phone’s list of contacts.
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11.6 billion scam text messages were sent in March, 30% more than in February, says the New York Times. Why? Because we're apt to fall for them more often than phishing emails. Be particularly suspicious if a text message is urgent, involves paying money, or directs you to a link where you must enter a password.
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"I don't understand. How are all these salespeople getting my cell phone number?"
> In most cases, scammers use automated technology to call random numbers. Scammers have also hacked eCommerce websites where buyers are required to provide personal information. And if you happen to call a scammer's toll-free number, they can use Caller ID to record the number you're calling from.
"Are there situations where I can safely give out my social security number?"
> A simple rule is, if you're not initiating the transaction, don't give out personal information. But when you're asking for a loan, a transaction involving $10,000 or more, a contract like a cell phone agreement, or a government benefit, you'll need to share your number. CNET says providing the last four digits of your number for ID purposes generally isn't dangerous.
"Can I continue to use a Chromebook (2014) that no longer offers updates? If not, what do I do with it?"
> Google supports Chromebooks for at least five years from the time of manufacture. After that, the laptops will no longer receive security updates to the software. Laptop Magazine says you could use it as a second monitor, a digital picture frame, or a device to backup old files. If you're using an old Chromebook to surf the web and encounter a warning, don't enter details into any website.
Aware Force Cybersecurity News • June 2022 a • Edition #146
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