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BEWARE – ITS A SCAM – STAY SAFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You receive an e-mail similar to one of the following:

•    You are being offered employment with an overseas company – all you have to do is open envelopes and process money.
 
    You meet a soldier from Iraq or Afghanistan through an online dating site asking for money.
 
•    There is a problem with your [Visa, Citibank, PayPal, eBay, etc., etc.] account. Your personal information is needed to correct it.
 
•    You receive an overpayment in the form of a money order or bank check. Cash the check and send the overage to a third party.
 
•    The government has discovered a problem with your census or tax records. Your personal information is needed to correct it.
 
•    You just won a lottery that you didn’t even know that you had entered. Send a handling fee to receive your winnings.
 
•    A deposed government official in a foreign country wants to share his wealth with you. Send a handling fee to receive your money.
 
•    You receive an e-mail with an offer to loan you money.
 
•    You receive an unsolicited offer to become a “secret shopper.”
 
•    You receive an invitation to attend an international conference, convention or workshop.
 
•    An assassin has been hired to kill you. He is now repentant and will call off the murder in exchange for a large sum of money.
These are common money and identity theft schemes that are making the rounds on the Internet. And, unfortunately, folks fall for them every day. Reputable businesses do not ask for credit and personal information via e-mail, especially the government. E-mails asking for your personal account information are merely fishing expeditions by some scammer out to steal your money (known on the Internet as “phishing”). And there is no one in a foreign country that wants to give you money. This is not your lucky day, you didn’t win a lottery (in the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, etc., etc.)!

 
These, like all e-mail chain letters, should just be deleted. DO NOT RESPOND TO THEM!

 Questions & Answers about Internet Safety – Internet Safety Trainer’s Manual

Questions and Answers About Protecting Your Privacy and Security on the Computer

People of all ages and backgrounds use personal computers, and Internet-enabled devices to be more productive at work, surf the web, and stay in touch with friends and family. Being online has become a part of daily life for most people that it can be easy to forget the risks associated with the enjoyment and convenience. While there have been great advances in computer and Internet security, scam artists, hackers and stalkers still find ways to reach vulnerable targets. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported that there were 275,000 complaints and $265 million in losses from Internet scams in 2008, a jump from the previous year. Many people could avoid becoming victims by taking simple, but effective precautions and avoiding unnecessary risks.

The “Internet Safety Trainer’s Manual” can help answer many questions about how to keep children, computer data and personal information safer and more secure. This publication is part of an educational and training module that includes a multilingual companion brochure; “Internet Safety: A computer user’s guide to privacy and security,” (available in Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese); a training guide for classes and seminars; PowerPoint slides, and class activities.

This Consumer Action module is free for individuals, non-profits and community-based organizations. To learn more about our training modules

What are some of the risks that Internet users face?

The main risks Internet users face include:

  • Inappropriate or unwanted contact (cyberbullying and spamming, for example)
  • Inappropriate or inaccurate content (pornography and hate sites, for example)
  • Deceptive or fraudulent commerce (counterfeit and malicious sites, for example)

How do crooks and con artists find their victims online?

Crooks and scammers have many ways to find their potential victims, and they’re constantly coming up with new ones. Beware of:

  • Phishing—an attempt to “hook” you into revealing your personal and confidential information by sending emails that seem to come from a legitimate business.
  • Spam—unwelcome email and instant messages, which may offer goods of no or little value or a promise of financial rewards if you give the sender money.
  • Malware—malicious software (spyware, Trojans, viruses and worms) that can be remotely installed on your computer, making it possible for the person who controls the malicious software to steal, damage or delete your files and other data.
  • Malicious websites—harmful sites that lure users by promising content on popular breaking news stories, offers from retailers, or other desired information. Links to such sites can appear among online search results, or can be sent to you via email, or on social network pages (such as Facebook or MySpace, etc.).
  • Transactions that are not secure—sites that don’t have secure payment forms or companies that store debit and credit card information without proper safeguards, may give crooks the opportunity to intercept your personal information.
  • Social networking—users who reveal too much personal information in their online profiles or who arrange to meet online contacts in person may be at risk; or the sites may compromise your personal information.

What does a phishing email look like?

Typically, a phishing email appears to come from a financial institution, a large company, a chain store, a social networking site, or a government agency. The messages try to mimic a legitimate site by using the same or similar colors, logos, fonts and layout. And they often include a link to a legitimate-looking but phony Web page that asks you to enter personal information.

One tip-off that an email may be phishing is the use of phrases such as “Verify your account” and “Your account will be closed” if you don’t provide certain sensitive information such as login name and password. A legitimate business will never ask for such personal information via email.

Promising big lottery winnings, prizes or other windfall if you pay money upfront is another common phishing scam.

Another tip-off for phony emails is misspellings, bad grammar, incorrect punctuation, and awkward language—things you wouldn’t expect in a legitimate email message from a business or organization.

The best advice is to trust your instincts. Always contact the financial and other institutions you do business with directly, by phone or by typing the company’s URL (Web address), into your browser. Look for legitimate phone numbers on your billing statement or phone directory. And remember—if something appears too good to be true, it probably is.

What should I do if I suspect an email message I receive is a phishing attempt?

Do not reply to the email. Forward the message to your Internet service provider (ISP), contact the company the email claims to be from, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.onguardonline.gov. Large companies often have special “abuse” email addresses you can forward the email to, such as abuse@companyname.com.

What if I have already responded and fear I may be a victim of identity theft?

Immediately change the passwords on your online accounts, and notify the fraud department at the institution that was mimicked. Request your credit report from the three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax (800-525-6285), Experian (888-397-3742), and TranUnion (800-680-7289). The reports are free to victims of identity theft. You can also request free reports from all three agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com.

When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully for accounts you don’t recognize, which may be signs of identity theft. Consider placing a security freeze on each report, which means that no new credit can be extended without your personal approval.

What’s the difference between a virus, a worm, a Trojan and spyware?

All these types of malicious software, or malware, pose a serious threat to your computer and data.

  • A virus invades a computer and copies, deletes or damages data.
  • A worm is a virus that reproduces itself and spreads to other computers.
  • A Trojan (short for Trojan horse) is a virus that, despite appearing to be good or helpful, actually destroys your data, damages your computer, and steals your personal information.
  • Spyware is software that tracks your online activity, can launch numerous pop-up ads, and may steal your personal information or change your computer settings without your knowing.

How can I avoid malicious websites?

Never click on, or copy and paste, links that are sent to you by people or companies you don’t know. If you want to verify that the site is legitimate, type (don’t copy) the homepage portion of the URL (ending with .com or .net, etc.) directly into your browser address bar. When doing an online search, visit only results that are well known and trusted sources of information.

Stay Safe  Be Cautious !!

With Regards

Hemant Khurana

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3 comments on “BEWARE – ITS A SCAM – STAY SAFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. ON-LINE SAFETY TIPS:

    1. No social networking site is safe.
    Reporting bad people to the police is important. Remember to call law enforcement if threatened.

    2. Don’t lie about your age.
    If you lie about your age, your profile may be deleted without notice.

    3. Don’t give out your contact information.
    Social Networking sites are a public space, including your profile. The whole world can see it. Don’t post your phone number, address, IM, or specific whereabouts.

    4. People aren’t always who they say they are.
    A person may appear harmless and actually be very dangerous. They may say they are one age and actually be another. Report dangerous people to the police.

    5. Report nudity, harassment, hate speech, and other inappropriate content.
    Call the cops if you think anyone is in danger.

    6. You can be denied admission to college or a job based on things you put in your profile.
    It has happened. Don’t let it happen to you. Don’t post things that can embarrass you later in a public space like Multiply.

    7. Don’t get scammed.
    Never respond to a piece of spam. Never provide a password unless you are 100% sure you are on the right site.

    8. Don’t meet people in real life that you only “know” online.
    Predators are out there. Don’t meet people in real life. If you do decide to meet someone, tell your parents first, meet in a public place, and bring a trusted adult.

    9. Sex with an underage person is rape.
    It does not matter if that person lied about their age. It’s rape and you will go to prison.

    10. Report threats to the police.
    If you think there is a threat to your or someone else’s safety, call 9-1-1, or let your local police know asap. You will not get in trouble for making a report.

    11. Dealing with a Cyber Bully?
    Being bullied is no fun. Here are some things you can do to make it stop: call the police; delete your profile; document your harassment; don’t respond.

    12. Create Intricate Passwords.
    Use passwords that are at least eight characters long that include at least one number and one character.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    nternet Security
    It can be a wicked web…

    The Internet. It can be a great learning resource. It can also pose a great problem. The world’s most democratic medium also opens your kids to content you’d rather remained undiscovered. To protect your children against unwanted web stuff, talk to them. You might find out that you’re worrying more than you need too. Children today are very intelligent about technology and media content and may have a more mature attitude to the Internet that you think. In any case, clear communication is the key. Here are some ways for your family to be Internet safe.

    Safety tips, advice, and resources found in this section have been recommended by a number of reputable organizations devoted to internet safety. You will find links to these and other safety-related organizations throughout this site.

    INTERNET SAFETY

    Set the online rules. Decide with your kids when they can be online, the length of time, and appropriate pages to visit.

    Teach them to be responsible. Teach them the possibilities of the Internet and the responsibility those possibilities carry.

    Teach them not everyone can be trusted. The Internet is a solicitous medium. Teach your children not to give out their Internet password, name, number, address, parents’ work address/telephone number, or name and location of their school.

    Teach them to tell you. Tell your children to tell you when someone online asks for personal information about them.

    Teach them to show you. Participate in what they do online. Let them show you were they go. Not only will you find out what they do, but you’ll also find out about what interests them.

    Teach them to stand up for themselves. Tell them about peer pressure and tell them it’s OK to say no to doing things they don’t wan to do. Tell them that this applies to the Internet, too.

    Teach them not everything online is as it seems. The Internet is quite anonymous. And in chat room settings, some people use that to their advantage. Tell your children that people sometimes pretend to be someone different than they really are on the Internet, and that they should be careful to not believe everything people say.

    Teach them that good and bad people exist everywhere. With so much positive hype about the Internet in the market, it’s easy to see why kids think the Internet is good for good people. Tell them that they should be skeptical of people they don’t know online, and that they should keep their distance and not make friends too quickly.

    Teach them perspective. If someone on the Internet says something bad to your child, teach your children that it’s not their fault.

    10 Ways to Stay Safe On The Net

    It’s cool, it’s fast, it can be fun, and you’re told time and again that it’s safe. However, being careful online is no different than being careful offline. Some details are different but the basic rule is the same: use your common sense, and always look both ways before you surf.

    Don’t Give Out Personal Information

    Never give out your full name, address & phone number. Never give out your Internet password. Never. Change your password often. Take the time to read the website policy!

    Protect Yourself From Spam

    When posting to an email list or bulletin board; do not give out your main email address. Instead use Hotmail or other “disposable” address.

    Protect Your Money

    One of the biggest issues for the Internet today is security. If you absolutely do not want anyone to know about or exchange your personal and financial information, don’t buy anything on the Internet. If you choose to purchase online, follow these precautions:

    Only give out your credit card information to a secure site.

    Never give anyone your bank account number, social security number or other personal information that isn’t needed to complete a transaction.

    You can check if a site is secure by looking at the lower portion of the screen if you are using Internet Explorer. To view more information about the security, double click on the lock. With Netscape, look at your security icon (looks like a padlock). If it is locked, the site is secure, unlocked means that you should not give a credit card number. For more information about the security, just click on the padlock.

    Ensure that it is a reputable site.

    Get Rich Quick! Not.

    If it sounds too good to be true, well, guess what? If you get unsolicited e-mail that says you can make thousands of dollars in a few days, don’t believe it.

    A Good Virus Scan Is Worth Its Weight In Programmers

    New viruses come out daily. Update your virus scan frequently. Read the manual.

    Protect Yourself from Email Viruses

    Do not open email attachments that are programs (the file name will be *.exe). The most common way to get a virus is from email attachments that are executable programs. Receiving these in emails is harmless, but opening them and running the program can infect your computer. Trash them. Delete.

    Be Careful What You Ask For

    Always scan downloaded programs and files from the Internet.

    Stalking
    If you think you are being stalked online, log off. If someone is sending threatening emails, report it to the police.

    Shopping
    Shop online only with companies you know. If you don’t know a company, ask for a print catalog before you decide to order electronically.

    Disguise Your Own Activities
    Use a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchase information. If you don’t have encryption software, consider calling the merchants’ 800 number, faxing your order, or paying with a cheque. Or look for software that can be downloaded from the Internet at no charge.

    Safety is a choice.

    ———————————————————————————————————————–

    Malware writers are constantly changing with the times. Lately they have been focusing their efforts at exploiting social media sites, and in the last few months there have been a number of malware outbreaks related to Facebook and YouTube.
    Don’t allow the high comfort level that comes with an online community trick you into letting your guard down.

    While these sites themselves might be “safe,” security industry experts warn to be cautious of posted links that take you to other, more dangerous, sites. Experts say the cybercriminals are playing on users’ high comfort level with and the community feel of the social networking sites.

    Some of the latest threats to hit social media sites include:

    Koobface.AZ. This rogue application secretly steals user information or tries to trick users into revealing it to them. This info is then sent or sold to a third-party website. In one instance, people received messages saying they had violated Facebook’s terms and conditions. If you clicked on the notice, you were taken to the application “f a c e b o o k — closing down!!!” This then caused the same message to be sent to all of your friends. In a similar case, Facebook users received notifications from a user’s friend saying that there were “errors” when they tried to view a profile. If you clicked “View the Error Messages,” you could actually end up opening another rogue application.
    VideoPlay spreading through posts on YouTube and Digg. These increased 400 per cent from January to February. The posts claim that if you click on them you will be able to see Dark Knight actor Christian Bale freaking out or unclothed video of Jessica Simpson or Megan Fox. Instead, users got a page where they were asked to download a codec to view the video. A codec is a program that codes and decodes digital data streams. However, in this case the user did not download a codec, but rather VideoPlay. This adware is a worm that tries to swipe email logins and other information and spread itself via removable drives.
    The same people who are thought to be behind the Digg campaign were also believed to have a hand in exploiting fellow social networking site LinkedIn during January. It seems these criminals are working their way through the popular social media sites.

    While these social networking site threats are relatively new, security experts suggest that you follow the same common sense guidelines as those used when accessing email or web browsing:

    Don’t click on messages form people you don’t know
    If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t
    Provide your private information to very few sites

    These old but true guidelines will help you stay safe in this new age of warfare against malware.

    Like

  2. Hello, Hemant. I was a newbie to a dating site, and left myself wide open for trouble. I don’t even remember how this guy first caught my eye, but he claimed to be an American soldier in Iraq. He didn’t ask for money — rather, he asked for CDs, DVDs, clothes, food, personal care supplies, and a white teddy bear with my perfume — what an asshole. I went so far as to buying the items, before a friend stepped in and warned me about this scam. Eventually, he gave me the name of a retired colonel in Ghana, who would bring the package to him. I googled this “colonel” and found that he had page after page of scams reported against him. This was an emotionally painful and distressing time for me, and I now know better. Thanks for all the examples. And if anyone sends the name Mr. Felix to you in any form of communication, don’t get involved. He is a jerk.

    Like

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