Phishing emails, tech support calls continue to be successful scams

Special Reports

More than 300,000 fraud complaints were filed with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in 2017, and some of the most reported issues were tech scams.   

READ: FBI’s 2017 Internet crime report

Spoofing is just one-way scammers are using technology to try to rip you off. 

“Companies that immediately start out, we’ve noticed a problem and we need a credit card. If they immediately start out asking for very personal information right off the bat that you would not normally give to an individual, that is an excellent sign that this is a spoofing event,” said Eric Brown of Tennessee Tech University. 

Brown helps lead the Cybersecurity Education Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech University.

He said be wary of unfamiliar websites and read pop-ups more than once. 

“Within some websites, you might get banners that popup that say your machine is infected, click here to disinfect. That should be an immediate warning if that is in response to a web page that you’ve gone to,” said Brown. 

He added, “If you’re receiving pop-ups and your web browser is not even up, be incredibly suspicious. That generally means you are infected by Malware.” 

READ: What is Malware and how can you spot it?

Malware is not only a threat on your computer but also your phone and tablet. Scammers are now developing fake apps that look a lot like legitimate ones – to get access to your information. 

Phishing emails continue to be a problem with Americans losing nearly $30 million last year, according to IC3. 

“If there are embedded URL in the email, hover, don’t click them, hover over top of them. The text, the actual link, will show up at the bottom of the screen, if that text doesn’t match the name of the link-don’t click it,” warned Brown. 

Brown said the best way to avoid a scam is to pay attention and take your time before reacting.  

“Due diligence goes a long way. It’s 90 percent common sense, 10 percent technical sense.” 

Another top reported scam is the tech support scam. This scam starts off with a call from someone claiming to be with Microsoft, Apple, or another well-known company. The scammer said they need to get access to your computer to fix a problem. 

READ: How to spot a tech support scam

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