As technology continues to evolve and hackers become more skilled and creative in new hacking techniques, it is imperative to stay alert to the recent scams that continuously affect users every day.
I want to share some of the tips that AARP Bulletin has illuminated so users are prepared for today's fraud as well as what to watch out for in the digital world.
'Wrong Number' Texts
You may have gotten a "sorry, wrong number" text before. However, did you know that misdirected text messages can be the start of a scammer's technique to hack you? For example, you may get an urgent text from someone speaking about an illness that they have or maybe a business meeting that is being rescheduled. As a nice person, you might respond and say the wrong person. An automated chatbot will then send you a generated text in a friendly manner. They may ask you for help, such as asking for money or wanting you to click a link to "donate" to a specific cause. The Federal Communication Commission states that scammers are looking for users who will respond or engage in conversation to get sensitive information or sell/reuse your number for another scam- also known as spoofing.
Do not respond to texts from phone numbers you do not recognize or respond with "STOP" if the text message says it will stop the constant messaging.
Emailed updates on an item we purchased are beneficial in order to see the order status. However, hackers are now using a tactic to steal money from you. Essentially, they are creating fake advertisements for products with too-good-to-be-true prices, luring users to want to purchase. Once a user buys the item, they will receive an email stating that the item is out of stock, and then a refund will be on the way. However, the refund never comes, and no one from the company will respond.
Before purchasing from a website or social media site, make sure to do research. Look for reviews from other customers and only shop with secure websites that have a lock in the browser. Lastly, make sure the website has "https," and pay with a credit card so that you can hold your payment pending an investigation.
Bank Impersonator Racket
Hackers are now finding ways to bypass two-factor authentication. If a user does not safeguard their information and keep it protected online, a hacker has a great chance to access your login information. To get into your account, they will try to bypass the code by calling you, claiming to be your bank, and they will warn you about the security of your account. The hacker will then tell you that they will email or text you a code, where they will ask you to read the code aloud. Once they receive this code from you, they will have all access to your account.
Hackers are good at impersonating credit and banking company employees. Make sure you never give out your one-time codes. If the call seems suspicious, hang up and call your bank directly to ask if there is an issue with your account. Also, safeguard all your passwords, never reuse the same password, and have complex passwords for every site.
Fake High School Sports Streaming Sites
You may have watched your son or niece's sports game on streaming services when you couldn't attend a game. However, scam streaming services are now flooding social media before the event occurs, advertising about streaming the games. They will also mention specific names of players to gain credibility. Those who would like to stream the game would then have to click on the link and enter their credit card information. However, the game will never be streamed.
Before attending any game, it is advisable to contact the high school organizing the event to inquire about the official channels or platforms for watching the game. By doing so, you can obtain accurate information on accessing the game without risking the loss of sensitive personal data or money.
Overall, staying vigilant and informed about the various scams and fraudulent techniques used by hackers in the digital world is crucial. For more information, feel free to check out AARP for more information.