Tag Archives: online scams

Celebrity Cyber Report – Tyler Perry, Drake

Filmmaker Tyler Perry is warning fans of a Facebook hoax claiming he is giving away money and other prizes.

In a Facebook video Perry said “I am not giving away anything on Facebook. I am not giving away any money. My team has to shut down these things every day.” According to Perry his team shuts down as many as 30 fake websites and social media pages daily.

The actor and film producer did not go into specifics but reiterated that unauthorized people were using his name for “giveaways.” Fans searching “Tyler Perry” on Facebook will find hundreds of fake accounts using the actor’s name. Fans are warned that his real pages are are verified by blue checkmarks.

Perry said he is a giver saying “In my life, I’m a giver. I give a lot of things to a lot of people, to a lot of employees, random things, cars, houses, I do.” But he drew the line at scams using his name. “But that is not true. The Facebook stuff. I’m not giving away anything. Stop it, devil.” Perry did however give comedienne Tiffany Haddish a new Tesla electric vehicle wrapped in a red bow. Perry explained why he gave her the car saying he understands how rising stars worry about money at the start of their careers.

Drake

Drake

Canadian rapper Drake shattered records with his new album which hit a billion streams in its first week.  The first album ever to do so. According to Billboard.com the album entitled “Scorpion” also broke the U.S. streaming record with 745.92 million streams in its first week. The new record easily topped Post Malone’s Beerbong & Bentleys streaming record of 431 million streams in its first week. 

In a stunning 24 hours “Scorpion” scored record breaking totals of 300 million streams on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Billboard.com reported that Drake now owns four of the top 10 streaming weeks ever for an album. “Scorpion” is Drake’s eighth consecutive No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.

 

Online Holiday Shopping 2016 – Security Basics

canstockphoto31830688Twice a year scammers crawl from underneath rocks and other nasty places to celebrate special holidays. First, tax season, then the holiday season. African-Americans using the Internet for holiday shopping need to be on guard against cyber crime.  Being aware of the scams and hazards can make a big difference in your holiday celebrations. 

The African-American Cyber Report is offering black people another season of valuable safety information to protect your holiday season so lets get started.

 

Card Skimming

Card skimmer courtesy of BBB.org

Card skimmer courtesy of BBB.org

Card skimming is actually pretty simple. Your credit or debit card information is copied when you swipe your card at a retailer or ATM. Cyber thieves install almost invisible devices or special software on retail card readers. This allows them to duplicate your card and steal your PIN. Its as simple as that. So how do you protect yourself?

First of all if something does not look or feel right stay way. For example is the face of the card reader loose or does it look kind of sloppy? Exposed glue or loose fitting parts? Do the buttons require more effort than normal to press? Does your card have to be swiped several times to work properly. Here’s a trick; pull or tug at the face of the reader. It may come off in your hand. Do the same at ATM’s. Check those buttons. Try to move them or lift the key pad. Check the card insert. Pull on that. Check to see if there is something in the slot or protruding from it. You have got to be alert! If you find any of these things notify the retailer and your bank if you have used it.

If possible use your credit card and not your debit card. It is extremely hard to get your money back from a bank debit card. But a credit card transaction can be cancelled and you will normally not be charged. Skimmers can be found anywhere even at Walmart.

RFID Card Protection

paypassThis is less likely but does happen. Your credit and debit card are sometimes equipped with a feature allowing you to charge things with a quick tap of the card on the pay terminal. You may have one of the cards with brands like PayPassExpressPay, or PayWave.

These cards have RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. With the right equipment criminals can scan your card and steal your card’s data. Protect your card by using a RFID blocking sleeve, or an RFID wallet available online at retailers like Amazon.

But as we said before this is not likely. An RFID reader has poor range so the scammer would have to be standing awfully close to read your card. Keep that in mind when you are fighting that crowd on Black Friday. 

 

EMV or Chip Cards Safety

chipcardYou should by now have the credit card with the EMV chip embedded in it. If not contact your bank or card provider and ask for it. That chip is used to encrypt the transaction data when you charge something. 

The objective of card chip was to reduce card fraud. This technology is not perfect. Some retailers have failed to switch to EMV even though the deadline passed in 2015.  Why? Retailers and customers complain that the process is too slow. Chip cards have reduced point-of-sale fraud. But the crooks have worked around it. The latest hazard is fraudulent “card-not-present” transactions online. Criminals can obtain the credit card number, security code, expiration date from criminal websites that sell this information. Personal information like your dog’s name or your mother’s birthday can be found on Facebook. They use this information to hijack your online accounts. That’s what happens when you put too much of your business online.

 

Tech Support Scams


tech-support-scam-popupNew tablets, laptops, smartphones and big screen televisions are big sellers on Black Friday. Tech support scams are common all year round but the efforts by scammers increases during the holidays. 

These scammers are intent on getting you to pay for support or software you don’t need or simply doesn’t exist. This includes extended warranties. They email you with a sales pitch or issue warnings from what appears to be a Microsoft representative. Be aware! Anti-virus companies do not call you to let you know you have a computer virus. Don’t ever agree to let anyone access your computer from a remote location. Don’t download any software online that you are not sure of. If you don’t have the expertise to know then consult a professional.

Computers often come with a ton of useless software or games. This is known as bloatware or crapware. Be careful! These programs can cost you money. They often entice children and adults to buy things without them even realizing it.

 

Phony Bank Calls

During the holiday season you are using your bank and debit cards more often. Beware if someone claiming to be your bank or credit card company calls you. Remember when it comes to your money you should be asking the questions.

Scammers will call victims claiming to be investigating card fraud or suspicious activity. They will ask questions that reveal your personal information like your credit card number or PIN. Don’t answer these questions. Hang up and call your bank from a number you know. Or stop by in person. These scammers are professionals at alarming you and getting you to reveal information used to rip you off.  When it comes to your money only deal with people you know and trust. Never, ever reveal any personal information to a voice over the phone.

 

Email and Phishing Scams

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net

Be careful where you click! Be extremely cautious about clicking on or downloading coupons in your email. It may be ransomware. This is a malicious software program that locks up your computer until you pay to get it released. It happens a lot and is one of the hottest computer scams going on right now.

Clicking on the wrong email may release malware on to your computer that steals information, monitors your activity and changes your settings. It may even secretly take control of your computer and email itself to all your contacts. Understand that scammers can duplicate an email from Macy’s, Walmart and any other major retailer. Check the return email address to make sure you know who its from. Check the retailers website for information regarding sales, coupons and possible scams. 

Be careful about holiday contests. When you fill out a contest form you maybe giving out personal information. Same for holiday coupons that ask for your name, email address and other personal information.

This holiday season; Be Alert! Be Aware!

 

 

 

Ebola Scams Hits Email In Boxes

Has Ebola hit your email inbox?  The latest Internet scams, malware and viruses come in the form of email related to the Ebola virus. These emails come from various sources claiming to be agencies of the federal government, health insurance companies, charities, and news services.  All claim to have vital information about the outbreak. Some claim to provide information about either avoiding the Ebola virus, what to do if you think you have it and how to buy insurance against a possible infection. Some emails claim that your medical insurance will not cover you if you get infected. But you can buy Ebola insurance. Many of the emails contain links or attachments that may download malware or viruses into a users computer. Some of the malware has locked up computers and demanded payment to release the computer back to the owner. Others install malware that copies user names and passwords.

Another email is being sent to people who have recently traveled stating that they may have been infected and they need to click on a link or complete a form to report their name, address and other sensitive information to health authorities. This is a classic phishing tactic.

People are sharing Ebola news via email so look out for email with links or attachments that come from friends. Many viruses and malware programs are designed to email themselves to all the names in the email contacts list. If your friend sends you an unexpected email with a link or attachment don’t open it. Call them and ask if they did indeed send it and what is it? 

The US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) has issued warnings regarding Ebola scams. The organization has warned Internet users to be alert for fraudulent emails of this kind to avoid malicious cyber campaigns.

Internet users are warned to be careful if they receive these types of email messages, If you do receive an Ebola email keep yourself safe by taking the following steps:

Simple common sense will spot many of these scams. Many cyber criminals are not native English speakers.  So they give themselves away with poor writing and English with various typos, grammar mistakes, an odd sender’s email address or a link to a suspicious domain. These are among the most common signs of a scam.

“Ebola scams will continue to push strong emotional triggers, so we advise users to double check online warnings, news updates and videos. Getting news straight from reputable sources and media agencies is always the right thing to do,” said Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi.

Another Ebola scam will tug at the heart of many victims. Fake charities are starting to pop up for Ebola victims and soliciting online donations. Some people have reported receiving calls from charities asking for donations. Before you give a dime to anybody verify the legitimacy of the charity or just donate to the good old Red Cross

Breaking It Down

Lets admit that some people have no qualms about doing whatever they have to do to rip you off. People are suffering and dying with this horrible disease but somebody is thinking about making money off it. Don’t play into that. Use caution when dealing with any email about the Ebola virus. Same for anyone calling asking for donations. As a matter of fact, treat both as if they do indeed have the virus. Keep your anti-virus software up to date. Make sure your friends and family are aware of the scams that are out there.  If you believe that you may have been exposed then stay at home and call 911 for help. And don’t buy Ebola insurance. C’mon; Ebola insurance? Really?

For more information about Ebola scams please see;

Better Business Bureau Warns of Ebola Scams

Scammers are Cashing in on Your Ebola Fears

FDA Warns of Ebola Scams

Ebola Scams Hit the Web