The pandemic we are dealing with doesn’t always bring out the best in human nature. Such times are when scammers are more apt to take advantage of people. Many people are feeling anxious and helpless. Add economic issues and it’s clearly a recipe for depression and uncertainty.
Most small business owners have heard of PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loans. These are to help businesses stay alive and keep people employed during this pandemic. There are incredible numbers of scams involving PPP loans.
Most scams come through email. They also happen over the phone. Unbelievably, calls and email are great mediums for scammers. Emails trick people into loading viruses onto their computers. Both manipulate people into volunteering personal information! The result is identity fraud and/or account thefts.
Internet and telephone scams have one important factor in common: instill a sense of urgency in the mark. If the scammer can make you think you need to act on this right away, you probably will.
I suggest you:
1) Deal with bankers/lenders at respected institutions you actually know. Use the drive-through window if you must to set up an appointment.
2) Call your banker/lender if you get an email or phone call offering their help with the PPP loan – even if the email or phone call appears to be from a legitimate source.
3) Understand that emails and phone numbers can be spoofed – made to look like they’re from a legitimate source.
Be cautious and you won’t have to regret the unimaginable headaches that those who have suffered identity theft and other losses have experienced.
I’ve written several articles about specific scams that are occurring on a regular basis on the Internet. They seem to subside for a short time – a very short time – and then a wave of them happens again.
One of the worst – as far as I am concerned – are the ones where the email recipient is being told they must verify their email. These have some common traits with most Internet scams:
1) A sense of urgency – they want you to take care of this immediately
2) A time limit – they give you within 24 hours to act
3) A threat – they tell you your email will be locked.
The first thing you have to understand is that nearly everyone gets these on occasion. I have received them myself in which they are made to look like they are from CharlesWorks. So when our clients get these they tend to become very worried very quickly.
I can’t stress enough that most legitimate companies will not send out messages like these. To fall prey to these can be a real nightmare. With access to one’s email these days the bad guys can wreak havoc in one’s life. The worst cases are called identity theft!
Don’t be the unfortunate one who falls prey to these scammers. If you have been “notified” of something serious – call your provider up and speak with a representative. Just like at my company – it’s a lot easier for us to allay your fears than to have to try to clean up the mess that can happen with compromised accounts.
It’s Halloween time again so I thought I’d mention Halloween Spoofs! Well, actually email spoofing happens year round.
An example of spoofing is when emails are sent that are addressed from you (and maybe to you) but you didn’t send them. In that case your address has been “spoofed”.
Spammers and scammers alike do this. There are a couple reasons it’s done.
Sometimes it is malicious. Let’s say someone goes onto numerous websites to sign up for information as XYZ Company. So a ton of spam is sent to XYZ. XYZ finds itself barraged with email and phone spam – wasting lots of their time.
More often XYZ is spoofed to appear to be the sender of spam. Folks local to XYZ are more likely to open the spoofed emails. The spam really isn’t from XYZ – just made to look like it is. So recipients think XYZ is spamming them. They’re annoyed with XYZ and report them as spammers and complain and so on.
Fortunately, spoofing doesn’t account for most Internet issues. It just makes life miserable for XYZ – the target – for a while.
The good news is that usually spoofing usually only lasts a few days. The actual sending server is identified and blocked or shut down.
Always report these issues to your email administrator. Early intervention saves lots of headaches in the long term.
This week is a closely related follow up to last week’s article. As I mentioned then about a lack of a phone number, it seems like it would go without saying that a website trying to sell something should have an email contact someplace on it.
Last week I was referring to a web developer’s website with no telephone number or email address on it. Some developers put forms on their sites to try to get out of displaying an email address. The main issue with forms – besides the fact that form output is more often than not considered spam by many mail servers – is that people generally don’t want to fill them out. It’s much easier these days to click on an email link and send off an email saying exactly what you want to say. Of course you can speak it even more clearly but email may be the next best thing.
If you can’t find an email address to contact someone, my advice is to just move along to the next prospective web developer on your list. You want to deal with a web development company that makes it easy to be reached.
We started in 1998 as a one man show – just Charles. After some years it became apparent Charles would not be able to keep up with the workload Charles was generating.
A choice had to be made. Charles alone didn’t get some projects because the question often came up: “What happens if Charles is on vacation? Sick? Etc.?”
The only path to growth was building a team. So that’s what we did. We became a team of 8-10 people at any time. We have the owner at this since 1998, the next in charge at it since 2005 and so on. The team grew. We were able to cover all aspects of web development. Team members go on vacation, are out sick, or whatever – but work continues to get done.
We’ve encountered many clients who previously dealt with “one person shows”. These clients spent much time frustrated and having to wait for important web changes to be done until that individual could get to it. With a team everything gets done quickly by whichever technician is available.
Think in terms of having a team behind you. When you need your work done you need it done. Period.
This is what our clients needed and we evolved to meet our clients’ needs.
We had intended to continue weekly with our web developer checklist. However, this week we’re presenting this post because so many people are receiving these bogus scam messages trying to trick them into paying an extortion.
This scam we mentioned quite a while ago. It has continued to pick up steam – plowing its way through every part of the Internet. It IS a SCAM. Do NOT pay it. We’ve had numerous people contact us that they are receiving such messages.
Here is is below in English and Chinese:
You may have noticed that I sent an email from your account.
This means I have full access to your device.
I have been watching it for a few months.
The truth is that you are infected with malware through an adult website you have visited.
If you are not familiar with this, I will explain.
I created high quality spyware. It allows me to gain full access and control over your device.
This means I can see everything on the screen, turn on the camera and microphone, but you don’t know.
I can also access all your contacts and all communications.
Why is your antivirus software not detecting malware?
Answer: My malware uses the driver, I update the signature every 4 hours so that your anti-virus software is silent.
I made a video showing how you can satisfy yourself in the left half of the screen, and in the right half you will see the video you watched.
One Key! All of your contacts in email and social networks will receive this video! Your life will change forever!
I can also post access to all email communications and messengers you use.
If you want to stop this ʌ
Transfer the $362 amount to my bitcoin address (if you don’t know how to do this, please write to Google: “Buy Bitcoin”).
My bitcoin address (BTC wallet) is: *********************************
After receiving the payment, I will delete the video and you will never hear my voice again.
I will give you 50 hours (more than 2 days) to pay.
I received a notification from this letter and the timer will work when you see the letter.
It doesn’t make sense to file a complaint somewhere because it can’t be tracked like my Bitcoin address.
I have not made any mistakes.
If I find that you shared this message with others, the video will be distributed immediately.
Good luck, goodbye!
一键！ 您在电子邮件和社交网络中的所有联系人都将收到此视频！ 你的生活将永远改变！
AND IT IS IN MANY OTHER LANGUAGES AS WELL!