7 Tips to Avoid Being “the Catch” of a Phishy Email

By Seasonal, Uncategorized

92.4% of malware is delivered via email, and with the influx of holiday emails, it’s no wonder that this time of year is a favorite for hackers. In between the hustle and bustle of the season, it is easy for a phishy email to slip right through the cracks — that is, if you’re not careful.

With phishing such a common hacker tactic, could you have been a target before?

The most common scams involve receiving an enticing deal from your favorite “retail store,”  or an urgent message from your “phone company” or “bank” threatening to cancel your service if you don’t provide them with personal information. It can even happen in the workplace as well. Has your boss ever sent you a last minute message requesting that you send critical documents to them? These can all be telltale signs that an email just doesn’t smell right. Instead of taking the bait, be sure to independently verify the email sender and investigate before clicking a link, downloading an attachment or sharing personal information about yourself.

We want you to be aware of how to spot a phishing email, so we have provided you with 7 simple ways to spot an email red flag. These can help you determine if an email is legit or really sent from a hacker trying to ruin your holiday cheer.

Click the link below to view our 7 Email Red Flags. This sheet can also be printed and shared!

7 Email Red Flags

For more information on common hacker practices such as phishing, vishing, pharming, and smishing, check out our Social Engineering series.

Don’t fall for these top holiday scams

By Uncategorized No Comments

Even though the two biggest shopping days of the year are now over, it is still just as important to stay vigilant throughout the entire holiday season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t the only shopping days that fraudsters target, as the full holiday season lasts until New Years. In fact, fraud attempts last year increased by 22% in the period from Thanksgiving Day to December 31, while the number of overall transactions increased by 19%.

So, for those who haven’t checked everyone off their list (we’re with you!), here are a few things to look out for. 

7 holiday scams you may not have heard of:

1. Gift Card Scam
In the first nine months of 2018, consumers lost $53 million in gift-card scams. This scam has increased sharply from $20 million in 2015.

Make sure that the gift cards you purchase have not been tampered with. Check to see what other gift cards look like, inspecting the seams, PINs and anything else that could be amiss. Also, online gift cards can be scams as well. If you receive an unsolicited email or link claiming to be a gift card, do not automatically open it. Investigate further and contact the gift card purchaser to verify they did indeed send it. Furthermore, if you receive a call from a service provider saying that you can pay them in the form of a gift-card hang up. 

2. Counterfeit Goods Scam 
A surprisingly low price and a sketchy seller are big red flags.  When a price seems “too good to be true” on a name brand product, it’s likely to be a fake. Make sure to purchase products directly from the brand owner and their trusted authorized retailers. If a manufacturer can’t profit with such a low price, that’s a good clue you aren’t getting the real deal.

3. E-Holiday Card Scam
Few people think before opening up an e-holiday card. If you open a “fake” one, it can install malware on your device or steal your personal information. Spelling mistakes are a common sign of a fake e-card as well as if the sender is not someone you know. You should always avoid clicking on anything from a source that you don’t know. Be on the look out for malware on your device by keeping your security software up to date. 

4. Corrupt Coupon Scam
The internet loves to overwhelm you with hot deals and sales. Many of those are actually fake deals created by hackers trying to entice you with a sense of urgency such as “Offer Ends Soon!”. Beware that the link to the sought after coupon may actually be dangerous malware that can infect your device and steal your identity. If the coupon asks for your personal information or forces you to buy something in order to receive a deal later it may be a scam. 

5. Charity Scam
Many people feel that the holidays are a great time to give back. Don’t be easily influenced by social media posts claiming to give money to charity. The best bet for charitable donations is to give directly to a reputable and known organization.

6. Shipping/Billing Fraud
Billing fraud occurs when the victim’s address is connected to the payment account used to purchase the stolen goods. This form of fraud increased by 34% in the last year. 

Shipping fraud occurs when a criminal uses their address for the delivery of stolen goods purchased online. Rates of shipping fraud increased 37% in 2017. From a regional perspective, the Western U.S. saw a nearly 60% increase in attack rates for shipping fraud, according to Experian. 

 

7. Travel Scams
Do not click on suspicious ads claiming to have travel sales for you. Stick to reputable travel websites such as Kayak.com, Expedia, or Google Flights that offer options for comparing competitive pricing. Additionally, it is always a good idea to purchase your tickets directly through the airline’s website when you are ready to book your trip.

What to do if you’re a victim of Identity Theft

Contact iLOCK360.  As an iLOCK360 paid subscriber, our certified U.S.-based Identity Theft Restoration Specialists will work on your behalf to restore your good name. A Specialist assigned to your individual case will guide you through each step of the restoration process and ensure that your case is handled with care. With your consent, the Restoration Specialist can help you with closing accounts, re-ordering cards, placing a fraud alert with each of the three credit bureaus, and removing fraudulent activity from your credit report. Restoration Specialists offer robust case knowledge in both credit and non-credit fraud situations. Our dependable identity restoration services will reduce the time and effort you’ll spend restoring your good name. 

Call 855-287-8888 to speak with an Identity Theft Restoration Specialist. 

How Else Can iLOCK360 Help?

Did you know that your iLOCK360 membership can help alert you if your personal information may have been bought or sold by hackers online?

iLOCK360’s proprietary CyberAlert can help you monitor your identity 24/7/365 for possible compromise on the Dark Web (i.e. the anonymous online marketplace where illicit activities occur). If your monitored information is found bought or sold online you will be automatically alerted so that action may be taken to address the issue.

CyberAlert’s available monitored features include: Bank Accounts, Credit/Debit Cards, Email Addresses, Phone Numbers, Medical ID Numbers, Social Security Number, Driver’s License and Passport.

Want to know if your information may have been compromised by a cybercriminal on the Dark Web? Be sure to log into your iLOCK360 account to setup this feature today.

Don’t bargain away your identity during Black Friday

By Uncategorized No Comments

After stuffing ourselves with turkey and cranberry sauce, many dream of losing sleep, battling crowds and racing through the aisles of Target to grab the best deals of the season. That’s right, Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) has become a much anticipated holiday tradition. In fact, the leisurely days of food coma and football are declining as now more than 174 million Americans take part in this annual retail shopping frenzy. And if you’re like the vast majority (93%) of shoppers connecting to and interacting with technology during this year’s shopping season, you can be especially vulnerable to online fraud and identity theft. 

So, before you start checking everyone off your list, make sure to read our 9 tips for protecting your identity when shopping online this holiday season. 

9 Tips to help protect your identity when shopping online this holiday season:

1. Batten down the hatches
Verify that the antivirus software on your device is working and has been updated.

2. S is for Secure 
You can check if a website will securely transmit your personal information by verifying that the url has an “https” at the beginning. The “s” stands for “secure.” Also verify that there is a “locked” padlock before the URL. It is important to note, that while a site address starting with https encrypts your data during transmission, it does not guarantee how the site owner will use and/or manage your data. 

3. Be leery of links.
Fake emails that appear to be from a trusted retailer are very common during the holidays. Thieves will pose as real retailers to get you to click on malicious content that may steal your personal information or install harmful malware on your device. Verify that the links you’re clicking are legitimate. For more information, check out our recent blog post on pharming.

4. Take cover with credit.
If a thief steals your debit card you are more vulnerable to financial loss because they have direct access to your checking account, whereas, a credit card is not directly linked to a bank account. Additionally, credit cards provide protections that debit cards do not. Under federal law, your personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card cannot exceed $50. But if a fraudster uses your debit card, you could be liable for $500 or more, depending on how quickly you report it.

5. Watch for counterfeit coupons.
Thieves try to entice holiday buyers by creating and sending fake coupons. Verify that the coupons you are using are legitimate and have the retailer’s exact logo. Beware that social media links for alleged “coupons” could connect you to a phishing site or install malware on your device.

6. Protect your passwords.
It’s crucial that you never reuse a password across accounts. It’s also important that you create passwords that can not be easily guessed (stay away from creating passwords that use easily guessed personal details such as birthdays, graduation years, pet names, etc.). So how does one remember so many different passwords? Consider using a digital Password Manager (such as LastPass or 1Password) to help you generate long, random and unique passwords as well as assist you with storing them in a secure spot. 

7. Research 3rd party payment systems.
Unlike regular online transactions, payments made through Apple Pay or Google Pay don’t use your real credit card number, so vendors never get access to it. These services make use of a technology called payment tokenization, which converts your credit card number into a cryptogram that’s worthless to hackers. Ordinarily, hackers just need your credit card number, CVV, and expiration date to commit fraud, and those are a lot easier to come by.

8. Statements Matter.
Be aware of the purchases you make and keep track of them on your credit statements. During the rush of the holiday season, it can be easy to let one or two transactions slip by that you never made. If you see a transaction that you do not recognize, be sure to call your credit card company or bank right away.

9. Veil your identity with a VPN
Using a VPN when browsing online can help you mask your internet activity and secure your personal information. All of your information and activity is known to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) because of your IP address. By changing your IP address, you can mask your internet activity. A VPN lets you do this. 

What to do if you’re a victim of Identity Theft

Contact iLOCK360.  As an iLOCK360 paid subscriber, our certified U.S.-based Identity Theft Restoration Specialists will work on your behalf to restore your good name. A Specialist assigned to your individual case will guide you through each step of the restoration process and ensure that your case is handled with care. With your consent, the Restoration Specialist can help you with closing accounts, re-ordering cards, placing a fraud alert with each of the three credit bureaus, and removing fraudulent activity from your credit report. Restoration Specialists offer robust case knowledge in both credit and non-credit fraud situations. Our dependable identity restoration services will reduce the time and effort you’ll spend restoring your good name. 

Call 855-287-8888 to speak with an Identity Theft Restoration Specialist. 

How Else Can iLOCK360 Help?

Did you know that your iLOCK360 membership can help alert you if your personal information may have been bought or sold by hackers online?

iLOCK360’s proprietary CyberAlert can help you monitor your identity 24/7/365 for possible compromise on the Dark Web (i.e. the anonymous online marketplace where illicit activities occur). If your monitored information is found bought or sold online you will be automatically alerted so that action may be taken to address the issue.

CyberAlert’s available monitored features include: Bank Accounts, Credit/Debit Cards, Email Addresses, Phone Numbers, Medical ID Numbers, Social Security Number, Driver’s License and Passport.

Want to know if your information may have been compromised by a cybercriminal on the Dark Web? Be sure to log into your iLOCK360 account to setup this feature today.

Introducing the Social Engineering Series

By Social Engineering Series No Comments

OVERVIEW

Social Engineering is the exploitation of people by manipulating them to divulge their personal information. The social engineer will make it seem as if they are one of your trusted contacts or like they are a part of a service provider company to get you to disclose private passwords, social security, medical history, etc.The hacker takes advantage of this scam to infiltrate your network and gain financial compensation. It is very important that you educate yourself on online security and how to avoid this happening to you.

Over the next few months we will be exploring different types of social engineering in a multi-part series.

Diving Into the Dark Web

By Uncategorized No Comments

The Dark Web is often alluded to when speaking about online illegal activities, but what is it really? iLOCK360 uses proprietary technology to scour the Dark Web  24/7/365 to identify if your personal information has been bought or sold on 1000’s of malicious websites. So, how does one even access the Dark Web, and how much are criminals paying for stolen identities? The infographic below breaks down the layers of the Internet, what it is used for, and also provides some tips for how you can minimize the risk of your personal information ending up for sale on the Dark Web.

5 Tips To Protect Your Social Security Number

By Uncategorized No Comments

Your Social Security Number (SSN) is an extremely valuable piece of personal information. It is unique to you, and with it identity thieves can commit multiple crimes in your name, including tax and credit card fraud. Follow the 5 tips below to help you protect your SSN and your identity as a whole.

1. NEVER Carry Your Social Security Card

Carrying your social security card with you is the easiest way to get your SSN stolen or compromised. Most people already carry some form of state issued ID in their wallets or purses, so if you were to lose your entire wallet (including your SSN card), someone would have all the necessary information to successfully steal your identity.

2. Create a mySocialSecurity Account

A mySocialSecurity account allows you to see all things associated with your Social Security number. You can view and manage benefits you may be eligible for; order a new card in the event that you lose yours; and, you can also see all earnings that have been associated with your SSN to verify that the information is accurate.

3. Never Send Your Social Security Number Electronically

Most reputable institutions will not ask you to send your full Social Security number electronically (i.e. email, text message, etc.), but if they do, it is imperative that you refuse. Not only is this an electronic documentation of your information, but it also leaves your SSN vulnerable.  Hackers may gain access to your information through the same WiFi network you are using, or if you or the recipient’s email gets hacked at a later date.

4. Guard Your Final Four

The last 4 digits of your SSN are completely random and specific to you, therefore they’re most important. The first 5 digits are assigned based on where and when you were born. It is easy for identity thieves to learn the first 5 digits of your SSN based on your birthdate and birth city, so if a thief also gains access to your last 4 digits they could easily learn the entire 9-digit string.

5.  Avoid Providing Your SSN When Asked

There are only a few agencies that require your SSN in order to obtain services from (i.e. employers, financial institutions, medical insurance providers, etc.). If someone outside of these essential services asks for your SSN, you should not provide it to them.

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