Cyber Security: Are You Really Safe?

19 March, 2009 | Posted by Marvyn

Recently, my father downloaded a trojan virus thinking he was downloading a virus scanner. He was fooled by an ad that claimed his computer was infected and as a result of the trojan, one of his credit cards was exploited. Luckily he was quick to catch it before it got any worse. My parents, like most people, are not as tech savvy as the scammers, giving them a huge advantage.

Aside from virii and computer hacks, there are people who still use some old fashion trickery to gain access to your private files, your home, etc. I’m going to share with you a few known scams and hopefully you don’t fall victim to any of them. (If you’re wondering, NO, I have no conducted any of these scams. I just happen to be street knowledgeable on a few things)

Secure Passwords

Have you ever forgotten your email password and had to answer the secret question to retrieve it? People typically pick a secret question that is familiar to them and easy to answer: “What’s your favorite movie?” or “What town did you grow up in?”

Well guess what, chances are that the answer can be found on your MySpace or Facebook where users typically share a lot of private information. Fortunately a lot of these social networking sites do offer some type of privacy by only allowing friends/contacts to see your profile. But you never know who’s shady and who isn’t.

Craigslist Robbery

You’re selling something on Craigslist and a potential buyer readily accepts your selling price and wants to pick it up today. You exchange phone number and the location of the item—which is most likely at your home. Then the buyer responds that he is on the way there now! Whoa! Wait a minute. You’re still at work and you tell the buyer you won’t be home till later in the evening. Good job. You just told the person you’re house is unguarded for the next X hours.

Your best bet is to meet up with potential buyers at a neutral location. This way they never know where you live and what else you have for the taking. Keep in mind that this scam extends beyond Craigslist to other places like your local newspaper classifieds, but Craigslist is the cyber-breeding ground for thieves.

Help a Nigerian Out

Another scam that stems from Craigslist. You’re selling something and the potential buyer is willing to pay you more than you are asking for via money gram, check etc. The buyer only asks that you wire the overage to a 3rd party in Nigeria—RED FLAG! If you don’t already know, scams and money laundering is in the top 5 of the nations GDP.

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