Posts Tagged ‘internet safety’

Scam Warnings!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

There have been a lot of scams going around online recently, some of which seem frighteningly real and are completely fake – designed to scare the average computer user into forking over money to ‘fix’ a ‘problem’. Some recent examples would be: the FBI/ICE Virus, or ‘Microsoft Windows’ technicians actually calling over the phone.

These viruses have been seen frequently in our shop since mid-2013: The FBI, ICE, Homeland Security or similar Viruses. Upon starting your computer, you may be presented with a window that completely locks you out from your desktop. It will cover your whole screen and is intelligent enough to disallow all access to the Start button, Control+Alt+Delete, the Task Manager and every last thing that is useful in beating it. This virus may demand you pay it a fine usually between 200 to 400 dollars or more because your computer was found to be harboring some taboo material, such as child pornography and the FBI has frozen your computer for evidence. This is false – and paying the money will NOT allow you access to your computer again, and could potentially make it worse as it could allow them more control over your computer.

The way this virus asks to be paid is with a Moneypak Green Dot pay card code. This way, the payment is completely untraceable and non-refundable. Do NOT purchase any card for this or give any bank/card information to anyone or anything you don’t know.

Additionally, another recent scam warning is some ‘Microsoft Windows’ representatives calling people’s homes, warning them that their computers are in imminent danger. There are a few things immediately wrong with this, that you should remember. Number one: Microsoft, the actual company will not call individuals for any reason. Anyone claiming to be with Microsoft and calling you without you first knowing the person in real life is almost always lying to you. Number two: Nobody over the phone will know the status of your computer, unless this is a person or business you have previously authorized to have regular checkups with, or if a virus has already infected your computer. If someone calls you and you do not know who it is personally – and they also claim your computer is heading for an imminent issue, virus, or problem, they are lying to you. It is a good idea at this point to hang up and call a reputable computer repair company to get the computer or laptop cleaned up of malware and viruses to be safe.

Aside from legitimate shopping websites such as eBay, Amazon or any online retailers you trust do not give out your credit card or any payment info to anyone. Especially if they claim that they can fix or improve your computer or that your computer is going to be unusable. If you are concerned about the issue or have continuous, coincidental issues such as pop-ups, problem warnings, or “DO THIS NOW OR ELSE YOUR COMPUTER WILL BECOME A PAPERWEIGHT” scares, call Cold Snap Technology at 218-744-1210 and ask about anything you are not sure about, or feel free to stop by; we would be glad to help you.

Business and Government Get Hit by Identity Theft, Too

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

While consumers are fighting their own personal wars with identity theft, companies are also inventing new ways to deal with the increasing threat. Banks lose millions of dollars every year by having to compensate identity theft victims, and so they’re developing new ways for consumers to protect themselves.

Who's you online?

Who’s you online?

Money Matters

Companies that have a single reported security breach may find themselves with billions of dollars in damages, as well as a troubled reputation that will linger for years to come. USA Today reports that businesses lose between $150-$250 for each card number stolen from their files. This amount represents the required legal fees, consultants and administrative costs. This may not seem like a lot, but tens of thousands of credit card numbers can be stolen in a single breach.

Government Dealings

Companies aren’t the only ones dealing with the challenge of identity theft. The government has also been affected. The state of South Carolina had its security system breached in 2012, resulting in 3.6 million Social Security numbers being exposed, thestate.com reports. And in a 2006 security breach at the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department, the personal data of 26.5 million veterans was downloaded to a laptop that was later stolen (and later, recovered).

Once information is accessed by a hacker, it can be uploaded online. At this point, nothing can stop the information from being traded on the Internet, and those who have been affected may have no choice but to petition for a change of their Social Security number. This is not an easy process and can sometimes take months. Government agencies are especially vulnerable to security attack, because so many of them run legacy computer systems.

Retail Threats

Retail establishments are at increased risk for identity theft, because they rely on third-party vendors and merchant payment processes for many of their services. Consumers are more likely to experience identity theft during the holidays, in part due to new and seasonal workers employed at retail locations. This means retail stores need to be cautious about running background checks on their new workers.

Consumer Precautions

While banks, governments and corporations are working hard to lessen the impact of identity theft, the bulk of the responsibility still falls upon the consumer.

  • Avoid using paper statements, and thoroughly review your statements every time you get one
  • Consider signing up with an identity theft protection service such as LifeLock. These companies will monitor your account activity and alert you if they see anything suspicious
  • Never release your credit card information online until you have verified the recipient
  • Teach your children about Internet safety
  • Don’t leave your mail in your mailbox overnight, and always shred documents before discarding them

Have you ever been a victim of identity theft? How did it affect you? Share your thoughts in the comments.