Thursday, February 5, 2015

SCAM UPDATE– More Scams to Watch Out For

Here are some scams to watch out for on the internet, your cell phone, and your email.

Scams on Social Media. Tonight, KIRO TV news ran an item about scams on social media. Popular sites for these scams are Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

On Facebook you might encounter a survey scam with a sensational headline. Click on the link and to take the survey you need to give a bunch of personal information.

The best thing is to be suspicious of links that you don’t recognize and avoid offers that appear too good to be true. Also, keep your anti-virus software up to date and change your passwords regularly.

For more information, go to:



Ransomware, on your cell phone. In December, I talked about ransomware, where scammers take control of your computer with a Crpytolocker Virus, then demand payment to “unlock” your computer. (

Well now, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has sent out a warning about a similar virus that targets your cell phone. Apparently, while you are surfing the web on your phone, it can freeze up and then show a message on your screen that your phone “is locked due to the violation of the federal laws.”

To get your phone back, can you guess? You need to pay a “fine.” Can you guess how to pay? Yes, “pre-paid debit card!” Load up several hundred dollars on the debit card; enter the card number and the PIN, and your set. Of course you know not to fall for this scam.

The BBB offers the following tips to protect your phone:

  • Treat your phone like a computer. Use a passcode, virus protection, and be careful what you download.
  • Watch out for scams that are disguised as apps. Only download apps through an official app store. Don’t download discontinued apps. And read user reviews before downloading your apps.
  • Keep your cell phone security software current.
  • Be careful of what you do and where you go online when you are using Wi-Fi hotspots.
For more information go to:


KIVI, Channel 6, Boise, ID:


Cancer Scam. I received an unsolicited email in late January from a “Ralph Carr” pleading for financial help for his cousin’s bone marrow transplant. The transplant was to be conducted in Donetsk, Ukraine. Donetsk is a city in eastern Ukraine that has been under attack by Russian rebels for the past few months. Mr. Carr requested $2,800. He wanted a reply email so that he could provide “details” to get the money to him.

Obviously, I did not reply, no telling what malware I would have gotten if I had replied. The appeal was clearly emotional. Also, having at least a little awareness of what is going on in the news is helpful, in this case, to raise red flags. Ignore direct appeals for money from strangers.




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