Three scams to show you today.
First, a scammer tried to frighten me with a variant on the old blackmail email scam. This little message showed up in my inbox on a Monday morning.
The email told me my account was now infected and that the sender had been spying on me and had control of my accounts. Unless I sent $1000 they would expose my sordid online activities. This message counts on that fear response, where your heart is pounding so hard, your brain stops working temporarily. Even if the person on the receiving end isn’t up to online mischief, they might actually believe their PC is infected or that perhaps someone else with access to the computer is.
While this email looked as if it came from my own email address (bolstering the claim I’d been hacked), I quickly checked by going to the menu for the message (this was in Outlook, but you can check in a similar fashion for other email providers) Then choosing to view message source.
You get a whole lot of information. But if you scroll through it you can make your way to the original sender, who turns out not to be me, but an email address in South Africa.
These blackmail scams use all sorts of wild scenarios. The important thing to remember is that they are all scams. Ignore them.
The next one is a Facebook trick that plays off the idea of getting something free.
These crooks add a link that you must click to verify your participation. Click on it and you’ll be taken to a site loaded with malware. These scams that claim someone has failed to claim a prize are big these days. I’ve never seen a post like this that wasn’t a scam. Please stop sharing them.
Lastly, there’s a scary Social Security phone scam where a caller tells people their Social Security number has been suspended due to a suspected case of identity fraud. You need to call a number immediately to have it reactivated.
Of course, to reactivate it you must give them your Social Security number and sometimes pay a fee. This is a complete scam. The government does not suspend Social Security numbers. This scam is also counting on a fear response.
So, keep an eye and an ear out for these crooks and make sure to warn your friends.