Hacker’s brief

Information for this week’s Hacker’s Brief is provided by CyberWyoming Alliance, a 501c3 nonprofit affiliate of CyberWyoming. 

General Phishing Email for Website Analysis: If you receive an unsolicited email to analyze your website or help you optimize your Google account, it is most likely a scam. A Sheridan reported an email with the subject line of “Google Listing!!!” CyberWyoming Note: For trusted information on these types of services, contact the Wyoming Women’s Business Center or the Wyoming Small Business Development Center. They are free, local services to help businesses expand and grow.

Homeland Security Impersonation Scam: A Sheridan citizen reported an email asking you for your personally identifiable information from Rev. Mike Israel at johnsonmrsrose77@gmail.com and homelandsecurit82@outlook.com with the subject line of “URGENT RESPOND IS NEEDED FROM HOMELAND SECURITY.” The email also asks you to send $150 to Greg Omah in the Benin Republic. The email is in all caps and starts out with ‘ATTENTION BENEFICIARY.’

Venmo Scam: A Casper resident reported an email impersonating Venmo saying that $500 had been sent to him. The email was from venmooffersdepartment@yhd.affiliategift.com and the subject line was ‘Please confirm receipt of $500.00.’ The email had very convincing graphics with only a couple of small typos yet the link to the “Accept Money” button did not go to Venmo.

Norton Scams Reported: A Sheridan and another Wyomingite reported three scams impersonating the Norton anti-virus product. The first had a PDF invoice attached for $399 and was from georgewhillhuyg@gmail.com with the subject line of “Thank you for your order.” The second was from Brenda Liebrenz at liebrenda.bl@gmail.com. The third was from Kountez Moore with kmoore@bmotw.com and computerexp786@gmail.com. CyberWyoming Note: Please note that BMOTW.com is a real website that claims to provide janitorial services, but their contact information is not accurate and they are not rated on the Better Business Bureau’s website.

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Another Grieving Widow: Two weeks ago seemed to be the week for fraudulent grieving, dying widows asking for help to give away money, but another one was reported by a Laramie citizen. This email is from Mrs. Jackie Fowler at jackiefowler597@gmail.com and the subject line is “GREETINGS MY DEAR,” (yes it is in all caps).

Winnings: If you receive an email impersonating the World Bank, United Nations, and the Paris Club saying you have won money or possibly an inheritance that will be provided to you via an ATM VISA Card if you only pay to have it shipped to you and provide your personal information, then a Sheridan citizen wants you to know this is fake. The email was from reservebankf69@gmail.com and unitednationsoffice109@gmail.com with the subject line of “call or text (202) 856 7014.”

Byte Impersonation: If you receive an email with very convincing logos and wording, impersonating a company called Byte but from newsletter@specpowls.com discussing a deal for invisible braces and encouraging you to order an impression kit, then it is a scam. While Byte is a real company with good ratings on the Better Business Bureau site, their website is byteme.com and specpowls.com doesn’t exist in a Google search.

Chipolte, Microsoft, and USAA Impersonation Alert: Chipolte’s marketing account was hacked to send phishing emails. Most of the emails had links to direct the reader to sites impersonating Microsoft that stole their information. The emails impersonated Microsoft as “Microsoft 365 Message center” and the USAA insurance company.

SeniorAdvisor Website Alert: If you have accessed the SeniorAdvisor (senior care review website) then your personal data may have been exposed and labeled as sales leads. Be on high alert for unsolicited emails and phone calls and make sure you verify identities before responding.

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Five-Fold Surge in Pet Scams: An African scammer was extradited to Pittsburgh for selling dogs that didn’t exist and asking buyers repeatedly for extra money to supposedly cover costs like quarantine, vaccinations, insurance, and shipping. The BBB Scam Tracker received more than 4,000 reports of fake pet sales in 2020, five times higher than just three years ago. One of the scams reported by the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association is that fraudsters say that their child has died and they want a good home for the child’s pet and then they start to pile on the pressure.

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 Microsoft products. If you use these products, make sure the software (or firmware) is updated. In addition, the website Scambusters recently issued an alert to make sure your Amazon Kindle e-Reader patched with the latest update.

Please report scams 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 scam or fraud, called ReST. Visit aarp.org/fraudsupport to learn more about the free program and register.