Cybersecurity news from the NTSC
Popular apps like Zelle, Venmo, Canada's Wealthsimple, and wise.com allow consumers to send and receive money instantly through their mobile banking app.
Users can easily split bills, pay for goods and services, or send money to friends and family without needing cash or checks.
The apps are convenient and secure. But there are risks users should know about.
Scammers can use these apps to trick people into sending money.
They may pose as a trusted individual or business or convince the victim to provide login credentials, allowing the scammer to access funds from the victim's account.
Zelle is tightening its security, no longer permitting bank account numbers — only a recipient’s phone number or email address — to receive money.
Watch this video to be smarter about sending cash online.
The Washington Post says Twitter is facing intense criticism from cybersecurity professionals. To continue using multifactor authentication via text messages on Twitter, an essential safeguard for logging into social media accounts, users must begin paying $8 monthly as part of a new premium package. Users who choose not to pay can continue to protect their accounts with multifactor authentication if they use a third-party authenticator app or a physical device called a "key" that plugs into their phone or computer.
Microsoft is introducing artificial intelligence to its Edge web browser, Bing search engine, and Skype communications platform. Users can type in a question or search term and receive far more helpful answers with A.I. than other search engines generate. While the technology is impressive, CNBC says it represents a dangerous trend because criminals are starting to use AI to generate convincing phishing emails and ways to hack into companies’ computer systems.
The popular website Reddit has been hacked, exposing some of the company’s inner workings to cyber thieves. Crooks got in by sending Reddit employees an email instructing them to log in to the hacker’s webpage. ZDNET says users should activate multi-factor authentication on their Reddit accounts in case the breach is worse than first thought.
According to the FBI, seniors lose at least $5 billion annually to fraud. The actual number is likely much higher because victims are often embarrassed and don’t tell anyone about financial crimes, particularly family members.
Seniors tend to be more trusting and less familiar with technology than kids. They often have assets that scammers want: investments, regular payments from the government, homes that are free and clear from mortgage debt, and excellent credit.
But low-income seniors are as likely to be victims as high-net-worth individuals. And cognitive impairments can increase the odds of elderly individuals becoming potential victims.
While scammers often impersonate authority figures who deliver urgent messages, older adults typically suffer more significant financial losses when they know the perpetrator. The average cost of scams involving family members is nearly $43,000!
Bank scams: An email, text, or phone message claims the victim’s account has been frozen. The victim must click a link in the communication or provide the caller with banking information, or the account will be permanently closed. Never respond to an email, text, or phone call claiming to be from the bank. Call the bank directly.
Other financial scams: Con artists pretending to be calling from senior benefits companies, government agencies (“you need a new health care card”), and tax collectors demanding personal information.
Family member scams: Someone posing as a panicky (or occasionally, a genuine) family member calls the victim, pleading for money to pay for an emergency like a bail bond or plane ticket.
Charity scams: Scammers seize on a tragic event or significant disaster in the news, requesting a contribution or claiming to represent fundraising efforts for first responders.
Romance scams: The scammer establishes a “deep connection” with the victim and will meet in person if travel expenses are paid.
Health scams: An insurance discount is promised if the victim gives a birthdate and government ID so they can verify the new plan.
Home security con artists: Scammers pay a visit in person, claiming to be from the home security company shown in signage at the victim’s residence. Often, the homeowner gives them access to the residence.
Technical support scams: The scammer’s message reads, “Your computer has been infected with a virus. Do not shut it down, or all will be lost. Call this number, and we will repair your computer for a fee.” The scammer gains control of the computer, accessing the victim’s usernames and passwords.
Funeral scams: Fake donation programs set up to help pay for a friend, relative, or baby’s funeral.
Adult children: check in with seniors regularly. Talk about the scams in the news and how crooks operate.
Often an older person will ask one family member or friend to help them manage their money, but nobody else is told about it. Families should create a formal arrangement in which one person does the heavy lifting but periodically gives an account of their actions to the rest of the family.
Establish an agreement where a parent communicates about ANY mail or phone calls that solicit money before acting on it.
Be on the lookout for anyone who acts as a gatekeeper. It’s a red flag when someone tries to control communication between the senior and everyone else.
Encourage open, regular communication with parents about cybercrime, computers, smartphones, and online communications. Be upbeat! They should never feel embarrassed about calling with questions about being safe online.
Sources: CPFB, Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, FBI, Comparitech, US News, AARP, National Council on Aging
"I see Facebook and Instagram offer a new thing where they’ll ‘verify’ you and put a blue check next to your name, so people know it’s really you. But it costs $12 a month. Do I need to sign up?"
This new service is called Meta Verified. (Meta owns Facebook and Instagram.) It’s a way for Meta to make money while protecting high-profile “influencers” and celebrities with large followings, as well as companies, authors, and people who make news. These accounts suffer reputational damage when someone creates a look-alike account and begins posting their own comments. Twitter is trying the same approach to increase its revenue. Do individuals need to sign up? Probably not.
"My cellphone number remains 'linked' to the woman who had this number SIX YEARS AGO, despite all my efforts to update it. If I put this cellphone number on my Panera card, it brings up her name! I still get her collection calls, Medicaid calls, and delivery notices for her hair products. How do I stop this aggravation?"
Phone numbers can be reassigned 45 days after previous owners give them up. All you can do is change your number and hope for the best. If you’ve had the number for a while, the carrier may charge you to change it.
"A recent edition of the newsletter said, 'Delete extensions installed on Chrome, Safari, Edge, and other browsers.' I use the 1Password manager for my passwords. 1Password needs its extension in a browser to work. If I delete the extension, 1password will not populate the appropriate credentials for the site I am logging into. The credentials would have to be copied and pasted or typed in. Could you comment?"
Good question. Browser extensions can track everything you type into your browser, so the risks of installing them are real. If a browser extension is needed for a legitimate app like 1Password to work, decide whether the risks are worth using it, but thousands of browser extensions are not vital. To surf safer, delete them and don't install new ones unless they're essential.
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