If you’ve been a victim of computer-based fraud (cyber-crime) we can discreetly help to ensure your computer is quickly debugged and safe to use again.
Hackers may have installed malware in your computer that allows them to easily access your computer again. If your bank or other service provider has advised you to take your computer to a professional to have it scrubbed, we specialize in that type of security clean up service.
It’s alarming to see the steady increase in the number of customers who have been victimized by online scams recently.
The methods and details of these types of online / phone frauds change over time but the harmful intentions remain the same. Skyview has resources to help you stay safe from ever-changing scams and can offer suggestions to defend against them. Some of the most common scams are listed below. Knowledge and awareness of scam methods will help you avoid becoming the next victim.
Types of Common Scams (Cyber, e-mail, telemarketing, text)
- Email-based scams
- Pop ups on your computer asking you to call a number
- Email Hidden Virus appearing to be from a friend or relative
- Tech Support Scams
- Fake threatening collection message
- Government Agency Imposter Scams (ie: CRA, Police, etc.)
- Fake or erroneous refund scam
- Provider (internet, phone ie: Rogers) Imposter Scam
- Fake account problem/issue from a service provider like Netflix
- Overpayment Scam
- Fake Debt Scam
- Advance Fee Scams
- Spear Phishing
- Fake Antivirus Software
- Downloaded Malicious Malware Software
- Emergency Scams
- Foreign Money Exchange Scams
- Counterfeit Cashier’s Cheques
- Fake Surveys
- Free Stuff Scam
- Pre-Approval Credit Card Scam
- Telemarketing Scams
- Charity Scams
- Elder Fraud
- Bank Fraud Vishing Scam
- Fake celebrity news scam
- Fake Website Scam
How scammers operate…
Email is an extremely popular format for many common internet scams because of the simple fact that it’s cheap and easy to execute. You would think that scam artists would have refined their approach by now, but many scam emails are poorly written and easy to spot like the Nigerian money transfer scam. Some however are more sophisticated, and a lot of money is lost to email scams every year.
Some email will pose as a greeting card (e-card) from a friend or family member and encourage the user to click a link. Then malware is automatically downloaded and installed onto your system.
Another type of email scam which often targets businesses, involves an invoice for a legitimate-sounding service. A sense of urgency is used to convince the receiver that they need to pay immediately or risk having the case transferred to a collection agency.
The common element in almost all types of internet scams is the initial “phish”. This is the act of tricking you into providing personal information that is later used to scam you.
In some cases, phishing emails attempt to direct you to a clone of a trusted website where you’re prompted to enter login credentials or tricked into making you download malware. A phishing email or message might be crafted based on personal sources like social media, asking for verification information including payment details or passwords.
Spear phishing is very targeted, and the cyber-criminal typically knows some of your details already before they strike. This could be information gleaned from social media, such as recent purchases and personal info, including where you live.
While many types of internet fraud can target virtually anyone with access to a computer, many are crafted specifically with the elderly in mind. Seniors are often targeted for identity theft since they are perceived as being more susceptible and less tech savvy.
Bank fraud vishing scams are also very common. Scammers will typically pose as a financial institution representative and tell you there has been suspected fraud or suspicious activity on your account. They will then try to extract personal or bank account information from you.
They might also try to persuade victims to install “protective software” on their computer with the promise that it will block future fraudulent transactions – Which it will not. What the software does, is allow the scammer remote access to the victim’s computer whenever they want.
A tech support scam often starts as a phone call, and ultimately ends up installing computer software like the bank scam mentioned above. A scammer posing as a “technician,” will claim to represent a large firm like Microsoft. They will tell you that your computer is infected, and they need to log into your computer to repair it.
Once you allow the scam technician in, they can do whatever they want with your system, including installing malware or ransomware. (Ransomware is a type of malware that involves an attacker encrypting your files with the promise of decrypting them only in return for a large fee). Typically, once they are finished “fixing the issue,” you’ll be asked to pay for the service. They then have your payment information and can continue to access your computer through the remote access software or charge your credit card later with new bogus charges.
Scams aren’t always initiated over the phone and might start via a web page pop-up that warns you that your computer is infected and to call a support number immediately. The popup is usually difficult to get rid of which serves as motivation to call the number provided.
One of the most fear inspiring calls is from official-sounding law enforcement or government agency, like the Canadian Revenue Agency. Many people are so terrified by these calls that they willingly hand over personal details. Remember if they are legitimate, they already have your information and shouldn’t be asking your for it. Criminals prey on this fear and often pose as police or government officers to phish for personal information.
Another scam involves a clickbait style headline on social media sites like Facebook, relaying some fake celebrity news, such as the death of a well known star or a new romantic relationship in Hollywood. Once you click, you’re prompted to enter your Facebook credentials to view the article, thus giving criminals full access to your account.
Fake websites are often used in phishing scams. Typically, a replica of a legitimate website is used to encourage targets to enter details such as credentials, banking information, and personal details.
Anti-virus scam pop-ups are a common tactic advising you a threat has been detected insisting you download their malware ridden anti-virus software.
The bottom line….be suspicious and verify everything before you click. Most service providers like banks, telephone companies, internet providers or software companies like Microsoft will not call you to ask for personal details, or access to your computer.
Think hard about even talking to them or just hang up if you have any doubt. Find the number that you have on file for that service and verify that it was them who just called you.
If you do fall for a scam, shut down your computer, call us immediately and we will advise you of next steps. We will ensure your computer is cleaned of any threats and safe to use again quickly.