Stop the Phishing!

After two separate experiences with phishing I felt it was time to do some research. I am almost 70 years old and refuse to be tricked into believing someone who is a thief ever again! So after doing some research and taking notes, I want to help others young or old who could be tricked into having their identity or valuable information stolen. There are varieties of phishing of which I will cover some of later. Here is my most recent post on scammers. https://joyful2beeblogs.com/2021/06/24/beware-of-scammers/

Don’t give anyone access or controll over your computer

Never allow someone from any phone call or company to upload a program to your computer or an app on your smart phone. If you do, you are allowing them access to your computer programs or phone’s apps. While in your computer they can upload malware, (of which a virus is only one example), and/or wreak havoc with your identity, credit card or rating, bank account and/or computer. Your computer holds a lot of private information about you as well as access to a whole lot more. No one should have access to them except you.

These pirates know how to put pressure on the victim. For example when an elderly friend of mine was called, a male voice, threatened her, “If you don’t meet us at the sheriff’s office, we will come and get you!” Thankfully she hung up on them.

This sounds like an easy situation to avoid but imagine how you would feel if someone from “Social Security” calls to tell you “someone may have stolen your social security savings. We need your Social security number immediately to catch them!” Several things happen: your anxiety grows, especially if you are an older person close to retirement age. The adrenaline starts flowing more as the anxiety grows into terror that your retirement money may be gone already.

The adrenaline sets off the “flight or fight response.” (Studies have shown that with adrenaline and therefore cortisol, the memory is not able to recall as much information from a paragraph they just read, as they could before the stressor. (Paraphrased from https://brainconnection.brainhq.com/2008/08/26/a-mixed-blessing-for-memory-stress-and-the-brain/ . So your memory of advice and warnings could go out the window. These pirates are trained to put the squeeze on you to pump up the adrenaline, increase your fear and likely decrease your memory. So keep a cool brain to be on your toes. Do not let them pressure you or make you hurry. Better still, hang up on them!

How is phishing done?

Phishing can be done by a variety of methods. I am not going into all of them here. Simply put, phishing involves criminals identifying themselves falsely through your email, phone, text, or advertisements. One common way is to get you to click on a link or open an attachment in an email or text. I get emails telling me I am a winner at Target, Walmart, etc. These are good examples because everyone wants to win something for nothing.

The criminals can even hijack a page for customer service. If you don’t check the http address for the “s,” you could be typing into trouble. Here is a video from YouTube that can give more information. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxlR1st8QKI

We need your verification!

The crooks can claim to be from a company that you are dealing with. They give you urgent requests for information to verify that you are who you say you are by giving them photos of your drivers license and as much information as they can squeeze out of you. Even if they say they are the FBI! If someone calls you, they know who you are. If someone asks for pictures of you or your driver’s license, your checking account, or if you have a way to send money directly from your bank, just hang up!

Phishing For Your Identity

Here is an excellent source of information with warnings and ways to prevent malware, phishing, and more. https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-online-scams.html

I am sure there are more issues but these are the ones I have seen, heard or experienced. One of the worst things about being scammed is the feeling of shame. I found out many others, who are intelligent and educated have been preyed upon by the internet pirates. If you made the mistake of trusting the wrong person, you were the victim of a crime. Don’t let shame or guilt or remorse plague you. These pirates are trained, crafty, and prepared for your attempts to question their veracity and have logical sounding answers to explain their requests, especially if you are anxious or afraid. Don’t even try to answer their questions. Just hang up!

I just answered a call from an unknown number (I knew it was a trap but will explain in a minute.) I just got a recording telling me they “had tried to reach me twice before. This is the last time we will try to reach you. Your credit rating is so good we want to offer you reduced rates on your card. Please press 1.”

I hung up! In the first place a credit card company would not have called me on the phone. They would have reached me by email, since that is how they contacted me before. I answered because they called from the South Carolina area code of my home town, 803! That was what got me thinking. To press 1 on a call I don’t know or recognize makes me wonder if they intended to upload something to my phone. There are emails that tempt you with a prize you won at such and such a store. They are sometimes tricks to get your email for more ads.

There are many tricks of the “phishermen.” Have you ever got a message on Facebook from an old friend you haven’t heard from in years? They say, “hello.” Then launch into telling you they won or were given $5000! They tell you “I want you to have the same chance I had to get this chunk of money. Just call this number and a woman will answer. She will ask you some questions and that’s all. Then you get the money.”

I blocked that person and let the real person know they had been hacked. I’d heard this one before. By calling that number, they could upload malware through your android smart phone. Likewise any email you get that has no name visible on the first visible line, do not answer it. One way to handle it is to put it in your spam folder where you won’t get any more emails from that email address.

Stay Frosty!


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