7 On Your Side: Malware, malware, everywhere

I don't know about you but I'm drowning in Phishing Scams! Emails are hitting my inbox constantly claiming everything from: "Your Package has arrived" Click here to pick it up! Or, "Your Amazon Order NO. #6187799 Might Arrived--(incorrect grammar is always a phishing red flag!) Notice it says Order No. and also includes the # for number) pretending to be from Amazon, it entices the reader with a shiny Jeweled egg--CRACK the egg and see your reward! Who wouldn't want to crack the egg and get a reward!

Thursday, I clicked on a link to see photos fails and got a warning with loud audio message allegedly from Microsoft saying "Warning, Warning! Your computer has alerted us that it is infected by a virus and or Spyware! This virus may be sending your credit card details and Facebook login to hackers remotely, please call us immediately at the toll-free number so that our support engineers can walk you through the removal."

Of course this was not from Microsoft, and the reward was not from Amazon, although the emails mimicked all the colors and logos to a T. This is how scammers fool you into doing something stupid, like calling or clicking and really getting a virus which is designed to get in your computer or phone and look for logins, usernames, credit cards, personal and banking info. I had to call the IT guys down at work to examine my computer and guess what? They found 26, yes 26 Malware instances lurking on my desktop. This is not good for the gal whose job it is to tell you how to protect yourself! So for me, you and everyone else, here's a review of how to avoid a computer calamity.

Don't click on links that drop into your email, or into your text messages --this is known as SMISHING, as opposed to PHISHING. If you really did order tickets, or are expecting a packages, log onto the website organically, not on a mailed link. Make sure websites are HTTPS, the S is for SECURE.

Change your passwords and usernames often. But don't do it through the link floating around from hackers pretending to be Yahoo and asking for your log-in details. This is designed to steal your login and password!

We did a story Monday about Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts customers who were out thousands after their Mobile Phone Coffee Apps got hacked. Starbucks said this is happening not from a breach on its app, but by hackers recycling usernname/password combos. Folks, if your password for everything from your gym membership to your Instagram account is Yankees1 or your kids names, its easy to break into--switch them up often.

Scrutinize the source of the email carefully! My friend and neighbor Dave who owns a manufacturing company had a hacker send out an email to his HR person asking for all their employees W2's. It was from a similar email address. However, his email doesn't have the 1 in it but you really have to examine URLS carefully. Scammers work 24/7 on perfecting their tricks. If you're like me you're eating a sandwich, sending an email, taking a call from your kid about soccer practice and listening to news at the same time. It's super easy to be distracted. STAY FOCUSED!

Don't use public Wi-Fi, ever! Don't pay bills to utilities or bill collectors who call or email and threaten to turn of your power, or put you in jail unless you go get Money Cards immediately and scratch off the numbers on the back. Call the number on your bill or the number on the real Con Ed website. Remember not to call the 1-800 numbers or websites contained in the phony email! Clicking phishing links are blamed for the hacks into the Democratic National Committee, Sony Pictures and Yahoo!. Stay vigilant, because the scammers are one step ahead of the law and as Adam Levin, cyber-security expert with CyberScout always says, this is their full-time job!

Related Topics:
technologyhackingidentity theftcyberattack
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