Portland woman had $23,000 stolen through Zelle payment app scam

A Portland woman was scammed out of $23,000 after someone posing as a Chase bank representative stole money through the Zelle mobile banking app.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The trouble started when Lisa Mae Osborn got an unexpected text message warning, “J.P. Morgan Chase Bank Alert: Did you attempt a Zelle payment for the amount of $5,000?”

Scammers are sending fake ‘store’ surveys and impersonating Amazon

Scammers send you a text message that appears to be from a well-known chain store offering a free product, discount or gift card to anyone who completes a survey, according to a news release by the BBB. Many of them state that it is a limited-time offer so you’ll need to act fast if you want to receive your gift, the BBB says.
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Elderly Fenton man a victim of phone scam:-

Out $2,500 to unknown caller who claimed he was trying to help resident whose computer had been hacked
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An 86-year-old Fenton man reported to Fenton police that he had been scammed out of $2,500. The man told police that someone had called his phone and told him that his computer had been hacked and that he needed to send the caller $4,500 in Apple gift cards so that he could retrieve the personal information from his computer.

Common traits of scammers and victims and preventive measures

Every scammer has its unique knack of trapping their victims. Yet there are some basic factors which are common in all the scammers. One needs to be very cautious in noticing those and acting accordingly.

Most common traits of a scammer:

  • They will contact you unexpectedly claiming from a company or a person you have never heard of, especially from the U.S, U.K, Canada and Western Europe.
  • The only contact details they provide is their email address, phone number and post-office box address.
  • They are from non-educational background which makes their English a laughable matter.
  • Incomplete and rambling sentences with bad grammar, misspellings and wrong references are used by poorly trained and inexperienced scammers.
  • They will repeatedly ask many personal questions.
  • They will mostly try to gain your sympathy by cooking up sad stories, like say, a widower raising a kid alone, a heart-broken lover recovering from love failure, etc.
  • You will be asked to exchange email ids in few messages to avoid getting caught from the security of dating sites.
  • Scammers on dating sites will try to trick you by saying that they have fallen in love with you.
  • Gets too desperate for a relationship, send love letters and marriage proposals very often.
  • They will plead you to assist them by sending funds for an operation or other administration stuffs or for their coaching classes.
  • For verification purpose, they even forge official documents and send a copy to your email address.
  • The fraudster will force you to make a quick decision based on a build up situation to transfer money to their account.

Speaking of their victims, there is no particular age group they usually target on. Cheaters are increasingly making attempts to lure young people – from adolescents to college students. Reason being, they do not take necessary precautions to protect themselves while using a computer or smart phone. Elderly people become victims due to ignorance to their ways of tricking them into handing over personal and financial information.

Here are some of the most common traits of a victim:

  • People, who lack self-control, self-confidence and are easily persuaded by any third person fall for such scams.
  • People, who do not indulge themselves in carrying out any background checks, ask questions or verify with BBB before entering into a contract or handling over your money.
  • People, who do not follow strong password protection methods for their various accounts and documents, are targeted by the fraudsters.
  • In many instances, people who are most susceptible by threatening phone calls, fake lotteries from unknown sources, fake sweepstakes and investment scams are hunted by the cheaters.
  • Many get excited by fake advertisement pop-ups and instantly click on the link or even in some situations download a corrupted file in the link. They can even acquire your personal information just by making you open their mails and sign up for trial offers.

Steps to be taken to protect yourself from getting duped:

  •  On receiving any mails or phone calls from uninvited contacts, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam. Be alert to the concept of scam and its methods.
  • Incorporate the habit of setting different passwords for various accounts that contain sensitive information. This will help you to keep your information secure.
  • Avoid too-good-to-be-true category popup windows and suspicious mails from unknown sources.
  • The biggest mistake one does while entering into any deal is to overlook the terms and conditions section of the contract. Never sign up for a contract without having an in-depth knowledge about the terms and conditions of the contract.
  • Never send your credit card details or account information to people whom you don’t know. They may try to convince you by being polite and generous. But do not send any money unless you are confirmed that he can be trusted.
  • Try to get into the details of the reasons they are giving to get money from you. If it is for an operation, get to know about the hospital where they will be operated, the doctor, etc.
  • Browse the web for further details about the person who you are dealing with.
  • Avoid chatting offline and use the services of the website where you first met that person.
  • Be realistic and do not believe on offers or deals straight away; tell the person you are not interested or that you want to seek expert’s advice before making a decision.
  • Be careful when you shop online especially when using virtual currencies like bitcoins.

In case of suspicion, get help from your country’s online crime agencies or report to us by submitting the scammer’s profile.

Spear Phishing – Awareness

A phishing technique when concentrated on a specific organization or company with an aim to obtain access to unauthorized and confidential data is called Spear Phishing. It has been recorded as the most popular form of phishing practiced on the internet today with an account of 91% of attacks.

High-positioned executives and people with authorities are targeted for attacks, since their time is managed in a way where they are least bothered to verify the authenticity of an email received. This increases the possibility of the scammer’s attempt to make you fall for their scam. The hackers gather some vital information about the individual employees such as name, email address, phone number, and any reference to a mutual friend and so on. These details are collected prior and used for victim segmentation, email personalization and sender impersonation.

Spear phishing awareness and training:

A vital step in defending spear phishing attacks is ensuring high level of security awareness among staff. Recognizing phishing mails becomes difficult because the baits are framed in a very personalized manner and the attacks come from electronic communication and or other forms of social media. Therefore, to avoid spear phishing attacks organizations must organize and conduct good educational programs for employees to spot spam mails and provide efficient training solutions to defense these attacks.

Failure to do so will lead the attacker to:

  • Steal organizational trade secrets, merger and acquisition plans, software designs and codes, engineering plans and also research and expansion programmes.
  • Delete or alter data with an aim to demolish organization’s business operations, affecting their competition standings and goodwill.
  • Misuse of organization’s reputation by sending spear phishing emails to contacts i.e., customers and suppliers from an authorized email account.

Statistics:

2013 2014 2015
January 42 165
February 65 141
March 19 84
April 28 84
May 15 54
June 88 68
July 54  171
August 20  188
September 53  21
October 45  103
November 45  116
December 33  54

Spear Phishing attack trendsAbove mentioned is an estimated analysis of number of spear phishing emails sent every month from the year 2013 to 2015. The number of emails sent in the first five months of 2015 when compared to 2014 have reduced to a greater extent.

Numerous training and awareness sessions will be helpful not only in imparting knowledge about spear phishing scam but will also strengthen organization’s internal networks and cause a behavior modification in responding to any emails even though they might not look suspicious at first.

Facebook Efforts to Stop Users from Fake Likes

The world’s most prevalent social network said that to date, it has acquired lawful judgments of about $2 billion against deceitful exercises on Facebook.

Facebook’s moves seemed to counter worries that clients — including government officials and organizations offering items — are purchasing “likes” to make them seem more prevalent. Furthermore it is focusing on a house industry which looks to convey these results to Facebook parts, regularly guaranteeing “10,000 likes” or more for a charge.

“We compose manages and utilization machine figuring out how to get suspicious conduct that sticks out. When we get deceitful movement, we work to counter and anticipate it, including blocking records and removing fake likes at the same time,” Facebook webpage uprightness engineer Matt Jones said in a blog entry.

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“As our devices have gotten to be more advanced, we’ve helped some of our spam-battling innovation to the scholarly group too, with expectations of helping different organizations battle comparative issues.”

Jones said that Facebook if important takes the spammers to court “to remind would-be guilty parties that we will battle again to anticipate ill-use on our platform. We like wise utmost likes for every record to make spammers‘ operations less proficient.”

Jones said the moves are gone for saving realness on the system of more than one billion parts. Facebook utilizes different systems including calculations to catch when there is a suspicious spike in “likes.”

“It’s critical to recall that fake movement is awful for everybody — including page managers, promoters, Facebook and individuals on our stage,” he said.

“We have a strong incentive to forcefully pursue the terrible performing artists behind fake likes in light of the fact that organizations and individuals who utilize our platform need real connections and results not fake.”

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