I am in Charleston, West Virginia. It’s a bit of a blog shortcut. Hopefully, this will serve as a caution.
I am going to post a list of scams that a committee of Congress has provided, for our awareness. It was a good reminder to me of what “hucksters” are doing.
A: Types of fraud most commonly reported to the committee include:
- Computer scams that involve fraudsters tricking consumers into believing their computers are riddled with malware and then charge them to “fix” the problems.
- Grandparent scams, where con artists pretend to be a family member, often a grandchild, who is in urgent need of money to cover medical care or fix a legal problem, such as money for bail.
- Health-related scams, especially medical alert device schemes, where scammers attempt to collect personal information or convince seniors to pay for a device or service they never ordered.
- Identity theft, including reports of tax-related identity theft.
- Lottery scams, including reports of the Jamaican lottery scam, in which fraudsters lead victims to believe they have won a lottery but must pay upfront fees or taxes before their winnings can be released.
- Social Security fraud, where Social Security benefits are re-routed from the accounts of rightful recipients to fraudulently created bank and debit card accounts.
And for our pic o’ day:
This blog story is a reminder of the computer predators that lurk out there, and the techniques that can be employed to get our personal information. The ending of the story, as reported by PCWorld, is that the hacker/predator is facing six years in jail for felony hacking, child pornography and identify theft. Now, here is the tale of a bad person that did harm with technology.
23- year- old George Bronk was arrested in October, after police found evidence that he had hacked into 3200 email accounts. His purpose was to look for compromising photos of woman in their email accounts. His method was to use simple information that was already out in the public domain. In 172 accounts, he found such photos.
Bronk would go to websites including Facebook, and look for basic information about the individuals. Then, posing as the victim, he would go to Web-based email services such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail, and click that he had forgotten the password.
Often, to provide the password, automated questions would be sent back such as “What is your high school mascot?” or “What is your father’s middle name.”. From information collected from the sites, he could figure out where they had gone to school and even google the mascot name. The family names were easy, as well.
Bronk is going to jail. However, he posted some of the pictures on the Internet. Those could be floating out there forever. The jail time is little consolation for those victims. The California Attorney General said in a statement, “This case highlights the fact that anyone with an email account is vulnerable to identify theft”.