Hacker’s brief

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

Norton LifeLock Scam Alert: A Sheridan citizen reported an email impersonating the antivirus software company Norton and including the well-known identity theft protection of LifeLock. The email describes a subscription renewal for 3 years for $203.42. The email is from Norton Billing at wkfujx5747@gmail.com (obviously not a Norton email address). Do not call the phone number listed in the email.

Dr. Ava Smith Scam Alert: A Laramie citizen reported an email from Dr. Ava Smith or williamsuktracy@gmail.com with the subject line of “From Dr. Ava Smith From United States”. In the email, Dr. Smith introduces herself and says that she will send pictures and more details as soon as you reply. CyberWyoming Note: These emails are often attempts to engage you to see if your email address is valid for more phishing attempts.

FTC Student Loan Scam Call Alert: Scammers are calling, texting, and emailing because the pause on payments of student loans due to the Coronavirus emergency relief program. Note that originally repayments would begin on Jan 31, but the Biden administration recently issued an extension to May 2022. As with other current events, scammers are taking advantage and posting as student loan servicers. The FTC wants to remind you that it is illegal for companies to charge you before they help you. Never pay an upfront fee. Never give out your Federal Student Aid ID. Don’t believe promises that sound too good to be true. Don’t trust seals and logos that may look real. Go to StudentAid.gov, the legitimate government website.

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FTC Travel Alert: Scammers are watching social media for family travel plans and calling pretending to be your loved one (or a friend, police officer, lawyer, or doctor) to try to scare you into send money for help right away. Resist the urge to act. Hang up and call your family member directly. Never send cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. Report this and other scams to https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/.

Top Cyber Security Trend: Internet safety specialist Norton predicts that the biggest growth areas in cyber security in 2022 will be: cyber currency fraud as more people jump on the bandwagon without knowing enough about what they’re doing. This very much affects Wyomingites as Wyoming is known as the blockchain capital of the world.Unemployment Scam Alert: Acute labor shortages may be driving up wages but don’t be tempted by the offer of a $100,000 pay-packet for driving an airport shuttle bus. Ads for this are popping up on social media as part of a new surge in phony job offers. Continue scrolling — and, if you’re job hunting, be on your guard.

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Economic Impact Payment Alert: If you receive an email from the IRS saying you are entitled to an Economic Impact Payment, don’t click on the link. The I

Sideloading Alert: If you install Android programs and files to your mobile device from a non-official app store or other source, a practice called sideloading, you could be a target for a new generation of malware that can bypass security checks. Identified only in the past couple of weeks, it’s called SharkBot. It steals financial information from your phone and is expected to become the next big thing in malware. Best advice: Don’t sideload!

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Disaster Scams: With the recent tornados in Kentucky, watch for fake charities running giving campaigns for the victims. Before donating, check the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool at https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/ and then check Charity Watch at https://www.charitywatch.org/charities to see the charity’s rating factor.

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.