Another day, another scam. Or should we say scams? There seems to be no end to discovering crooked schemes that use every means imaginable to trick people out of their information, data and finances.
Everyone’s received text messages from unknown numbers. Sometimes it’s a service or business you use that isn’t in your contacts. It could be your food delivery app letting you know that your grub is on the way. It could also be the first step in a scam. Tap or click here to learn how the scheme works and how to keep from falling victim to it.
While it’s impossible to describe every scam out there, we can give you a heads up about five current ones that you should watch for. We’ll give you an overview of how to spot and avoid them. This tip is brought to you by our sponsor and Kim’s antivirus pick, TotalAV.
1. Squid Game malware
“Squid Game” is Netflix’s most-watched show, and scammers are taking advantage of its popularity. The crooks are sending emails promoting a sneak peek at season two of “Squid Game,” which has not been confirmed by Netflix or the show creators. On top of that, there are emails promising casting opportunities.
The fraudulent emails contain attached Excel forms and documents to fill out. These attachments include macros that, when enabled, plant malware on the recipient’s device.
Here are some tips to avoiding falling victim to this scam and others like it:
- Don’t click links or download attachments from unsolicited messages.
- Don’t enable macros for unfamiliar documents.
- If you’re not sure about a message’s origins, contact the sender directly. Don’t reply to the email, but look up the sender’s contact information elsewhere.
2. Holiday decoration sales
The Better Business Bureau is warning of scammy advertisements for holiday decorations. The ads appear on social media and online search results and depict beautiful decor at very low prices.
If you buy your decorations through these ads, you won’t get what’s advertised. What you will get are low-quality items. You may even get nothing at all and have no way to contact the company for a refund.
Take the following precautions with these types of ads:
- Check out a company before buying anything. Look for a solid website with contact information.
- If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Look elsewhere.
- Use your credit card for online purchases. This way you can dispute fraudulent charges.
- Look up company business ratings and customer reviews on BBB.org.
3. Venmo scams
Payment apps are a convenient way to send and receive money. Venmo is best used for transactions between friends and family, so what happens when someone you don’t know sends you money?
The BBB reported on a scam in which the victim receives a message from a stranger saying they accidentally sent some money and need it back. The victim checks their account, and the money is indeed there. They return the money, and that’s where it all goes wrong.
The scammer used a stolen credit card to send that money. Once you send the money back, they delete the stolen card and add their account to receive the repayment. They pocket the cash, and the stolen funds are removed from your account when the actual cardholder reports the fraudulent transaction.
Combat the scam with these tips:
- Only send money to people you personally know.
- If someone you don’t know sends you money and wants it back, tell them to contact the vendor to cancel the transaction.
- Link your payment app to a credit card to protect you in the case of fraudulent transactions.
- Tap or click here for tips on locking down your payment app.
4. Crypto scams
Romance scams have a new twist: Asking for crypto. The U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Kraken is warning of scammers who use popular sites and dating apps to lure in their victims. They claim to be very far away and use emotional tactics to gain trust. Then they ask for cryptocurrency.
Protect yourself with the following precautions:
- Ask for a video call to make sure the person is who they say they are.
- Never give out financial information regardless of who is requesting crypto. Be careful giving out details that could help scammers crack your passwords.
- If the person on the other end is pushy and seems in a rush, it’s a scam. Block them and move on.
5. Google Voice scam
A Google Voice scam is spreading through Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you’re an online seller. A potential buyer asks for your phone number. Once they have it, they use it to create their own Google Voice account and then you get a text for a verification code. You enter it and now the scammer has a Google Voice account tied to your number.
First, don’t give your number to strangers. And if you fell for the scam, you can get out of it by reclaiming your Voice number. Here’s how:
- Go to voice.google.com on your computer.
- Click the settings gear icon in the top-right corner.
- Click New linked number under Linked numbers.
- Enter your phone number.
- Click Send code to get a six-digit number sent to your mobile phone. If your landline number was stolen, click verify by phone, then call.
- Enter the code and click Verify.
- Click Claim.
Bonus: Protect your tech from scammers and cybercriminals
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