Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

How to protect yourself from identity theft (and 2017 credit reporting data breach)

Friday, September 8th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, Sept 8, 2017 ; updates: added SSN section on 9/10/17

Yesterday (Sept 7, 2017), Equifax announced it had a major credit breach affecting a vast majority of people in their database. The hackers got names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, some driver’s license numbers, and about 209,000 credit card numbers.
Your Social Security number (SSN) and date of birth allow hackers to open new accounts in your name but for their own use. Or they can use your existing accounts for their own purchases. Either way, someone eventually comes after you for payment. You could lose your money and government benefits (social security, medicare).
See the following for more information; most of the information in this post is from these sites:

Fraudulent emails from “cron-job”

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, June 18, 2017 (screen captures of fraudulent email, below, taken by Catherine)

I’ve been getting at least 2 emails a day from an address that ends in @cron-job.org. Today’s was about bathroom remodel. These emails are each about a different topic of interest to people, to lure you into clicking the link. For several reasons, I believe these are all fraudulent – either they are phishing for my online information, or they contain a virus. See my earlier posts Online & smartphone security: Fraudulent Email and Recent phishing/scam email examples for more about these.

Why do I conclude this? What should I do? read on for more.

On another fraudulent scam: if you get a call pretending to be from the IRS, see my posting IRS scam, and what to do about it. (more…)

‘IRS’ scam and what to do about it

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, Sept 28, 2016; Updated Jun 19, 2017 and Mar 18, 2017

I’ve now gotten two of those calls, and it is likely that everyone – especially senior citizens – will get at least one of them. Normally I don’t pick up the phone unless I recognize the number. The first one  (9/28/2016) was a 509 area code, which is just across the Columbia River from where I lived in Portland, and is where many of my former coworkers with whom I exchange Christmas cards, live. So I picked it up.

On the other end of the line was a recorded message that went something like this:

This is (male name), an IRS officer. Did you know there is a legal petition filed against you? Call me back immediately at 509-983-0040.

The second call (3/17/17) was with a female voice, but did not give a name. She said:

an arrest warrant has been issued. Call me back immediately at 907-891-8644.

If you get one of these calls, DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER. Note, there are many different scam numbers they use. I got two more calls in June 2017 giving the following numbers: 662-214-8288 and 330-954-6946, respectively.  On the first of those calls, the voice said, “you and your property are being watched,” which is a clear threat that you should also report to the county sheriff or city police.

When I got the first call, my first thought was, “I wonder if this is that IRS scam I’ve heard about on the news?” So I googled the number, and got this: Scam Call Fighters (1), where it says: (more…)

Recent phishing/scam email examples

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, January 15, 2017

I the last week I’ve gotten several phishing/scam emails, so I thought I’d share them with you to help you know how to recognize them.

Phishing is fishing for private information such as usernames, passwords and credit card accounts. Wikipedia (1) defines it as:

“the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.”

A scam is “fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual, group, or company in an attempt obtain money or something else of value” according to the Business Dictionary (2).

The examples below appear to be from the trusted businesses: FedEx and USPS. But if you look at the sender’s email address, you can tell the sender is pretending, in an attempt to gain your trust and get your information. (more…)

Protecting your online data, etc. after you die

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
Cell phone vs Smartphone

Cell phone vs Smartphone

By Catherine Haug, June 16, 2016 (image, right, from Tek Handy (2))

I saved an article from an old 2014 AARP magazine, and it just resurfaced in my pile of to-do things. I’d intended to pass on the information therein via a post on The EssentiaList, but you know how it goes with to-do lists when the pile gets too deep…

You can read the entire article by Carrie Arnold on the AARP website (1), but here’s a few highlights.

The article begins with this quote: “Ever worry about what happens to your online financial data, Facebook posts, iPod collection or other digital properties after your death? Here’s how to get a handle on it all.(more…)

Online & smartphone security: Fraudulent Email

Saturday, December 26th, 2015
Cell phone vs Smartphone

Cell phone vs Smartphone

By Catherine Haug, December 23, 2015 (Image, right, from tekhandy.com)

Fraudulent email, a type of cyber attack, can be received on your desktop or laptop computer as well as mobile devices.

There are many different types of fraudulent emails.The best way to protect yourself from these is to “Regard All Unsolicited Email with Suspicion,” and “Treat Email Attachments with Caution.” (6) (more…)