Recently, one of our employees' mothers was hacked by a quite popular tactic that has been surfacing on the internet.
When her mother was on Microsoft Edge, she was interrupted by a loud warning. Right after, she saw a pop-up, that seemed to appear to be from Microsoft, stating that her computer is blocked. Additionally, the pop-up stated that she should not shut off her computer and that if she did not call the “Microsoft” number, Microsoft would lock her computer as well as her cellphone. Panicking, her mother called the number.
She then was welcomed by what seemed to be a man from Microsoft Security. He then asked for her email address and sent a code to her inbox. After being told to read a code to him, it seemed that the man was downloading files onto her computer. Afterwards, the man asked for her banking information. Stating that she would not give that to him, he abruptly hung up the phone.
Afterwards, she realized she was hacked when unsolicited files began to pop up on her screen.
Regardless of her mistake, her mother made the best decision she could have made at that point. These guys were after a quick buck, which her mom refused to pay. However, many other users have been tricked before, and thoroughly gave out too much information. There will also be many users who will be tricked in the future.
There have been so many recent scams that are storming the internet. Whether it's a pop-up about signing up for covid-19 recovery funds, or a hacked page (of usually someone you know) asking for money through your bank provider, there are so many traps out there that hackers want you to fall for.
Read more about recent hacks here.
So, what do you do when your private information, or maybe even identity, is stolen?
Identity theft is very difficult to recover from. For example, with the right information, someone can open new loans for months or years, and you won't know. Additionally, once you have all these loans and your identity is obscured, you must prove to your financial institution that it wasn't you applying, which very lengthy and stressful process including police reports, providing documents, showing up in person, etc.
Therefore, it is imperative to have safety measures set in place in case your information is exposed. Infiniwiz recommends anyone living in the U.S. should have a creative monitoring system. As stated before, hackers are looking to make money. They will look to your banking information where they can retrieve any funds necessary. This can lead to damaging your own identity and the recking of your credit.
Monitoring systems such as Privacy Guard notifies users of all changes to their credit history with al three credit agencies. For example, if anyone tries to open a loan or credit card in your name (in case of identity theft), that bank/etc. must run your credit first. With this action, one will know right away and can contact the associated institution to prevent loan from opening. Overall, Privacy Guards services include but are not limited to:
- Credit monitoring
- Alerts of potential identity theft
- Support services (advice in case identity theft occurs)
- Credit Simulator (a tool that helps to improve your credit score)
While we're not affiliated with the provider, this is a tool that I tried and realized that it works well. Additionally, there are other credit monitoring companies that provide a similar service. Moreover, this service protects you for a very cheap price. Make sure that you and your team are aware of the recent hacks and ways to protect yourself if an identity attack occurs.