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A Hacker's Brief: Avoid these scams
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A Hacker's Brief: Avoid these scams

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Laura Baker

Laura Baker is the Executive Director of CyberWyoming and the President of the CyberWyoming Alliance, both nonprofit organizations. She can be reached at info@cyberwyoming.org

Hackers and scammers are relentlessly targeting you and your neighbors. Below are just a few current local examples from CyberWyoming that may be help you avoid being snared by a scammer.

Sadly, You Aren’t a Grand Prize Winner: A Laramie citizen reported an email impersonating Capital One from XW9IFR2TUIO3JWcJ@odbvbx0y.merrell.pl saying he was a “Grand Prize WINNER!” The email features a picture of three men dressed in cardinal smocks and crosses, but one wearing a leather bomber hat. The text claims that the Laramie citizen has been selected as the July winner.

Federal Reserve Bank Impersonation Alert: A Sheridan citizen reported an email from “micheal” at ww.sns456@gmail.com claiming to be the CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The email claimed to have a guaranteed payment of a trust fund of over $15 million dollars if you will provide your personal information.

Square Impersonation Alert: A Sheridan company reported an email from squarebook@[their own company name].com, with the subject line of ‘Action Required.’ The email posed as a notice of a withdrawal from the company’s bank account and encouraged the recipient to click on the link to the transfers page, which did not link to Square, but instead linked to https://main.d2had9m4e4rvf3.amplifyapp.com/. The branding and wording was convincing.

Norton Scam Alert: A Laramie citizen reported a new twist on a standard tech support scam, impersonating the well-known Norton Antivirus. The email’s subject line is NORTON INVOICE_KJDTT5D7DGG56 and from danbruck977@gmail.com, but to Norton.members234@gmail.com. Both email addresses are not associated with Norton’s antivirus software. The invoice is for $499.99 for Norton 360 PC Protection and states that your account will be debited in the next 24-48 days. Do not call the number listed in the email.

Hello Email Alert: Sometimes an email comes through from a person you don’t know and it just says “Hello” and may ask a simple question like “Did you get my last email?” These are often true phishing emails to see if your email account is active. Do not respond. A Laramie citizen reported such an email from edencynthia54@gmail.com.

Dear ‘Love’ One Alert: A Laramie citizen reported an email addressed to her as “Dear Love One” with a subject line of “WITH DUE RESPECT” from “Limda Cliford” at limdaclifford78@gmail.com or lindaclifford03@yahoo.com. The email says that Linda needs your help getting her inheritance money because she is underage for the trust her late parents created. She explains that she received your email address in an online business directory. CyberWyoming Note: Usually these types of emails scam you out of money by claiming they need help with bank and transfer fees or involve you in illegal money laundering.

Mexican Email Address From the South African Government: Mexican email addresses end in .MX and this Laramie citizen noticed that an email supposedly from the South African Government had a .MX extension. The email is from Mr. Mmedin Williams asking you to help him track down twenty million dollars in the South African Reserve Bank.

Tip from CyberWyoming to Beat the Scammer: When you are online, purposely misspell your name on webforms that don’t contain important information. For instance, if your first name is Brian, change the name to Brain. That way, whenever you receive an email for Brain you will know that you can ignore it.

Scambusters.org Advice to Avoid a Malware Threat:

Install antivirus software and keep it up to date

Make sure your other software updates too, like your operating system, Adobe systems, etc.

Avoid risky websites in other countries, especially Europe and China that may offer free stuff.

Think before you click. (Read your emails out loud in a bad foreign accent to slow yourself down.)

Know who uses your computer and don’t loan your devices out.

MS-ISAC Patch Now Alert: The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) has published a patch now (update your software) alert for Kaseya VSA, Solar Winds Serv-U FTP software, Adobe (Dimension, Illustrator, Framemaker & Bridge), Mozilla’s Firefox & Firefox Extended Support Release, Microsoft, Google’s Chrome browser, and Schneider Electric Modicon PLCs (a ruggedized computer used for industrial automation) products. If you use these products, make sure the software (or firmware) is updated.

Please report scams you may experience to phishing@cyberwyoming.org to alert your friends and neighbors.

Other ways to report a scam:

Victim Support: The AARP Fraud Watch Network and Volunteers of America (VOA) created a new, free program to provide emotional support for people impacted by a scam or fraud, called ReST. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudsupport to learn more about the free program and register.

Laura Baker is the Executive Director of CyberWyoming and the President of the CyberWyoming Alliance, both nonprofit organizations. She can be reached at info@cyberwyoming.org

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