In our previous blog entry, “It All Started with a Computer Pop-up…,” Jane (not her real name) realized that she was the victim of identity theft. Her mistake was responding to a pop up that appeared on her computer screen. She called the phone number shown in the pop-up, and then provided access to her computer. What happened next is very typical.
Once the scammer connects to your computer, they may actually do some ineffective clean-up. But it’s more likely they are also installing some highly effective infections. These infections have one primary purpose: to grab any of your personal information in order to perpetrate identity theft. That info includes: social security numbers, credit card numbers, medical information, phone numbers, addresses, and so on.
Other infections could include botnet malware that will use your computer to infect other computers, frequently making use of your e-mail contact list.
Phishing is also a very common theft technique. This is scamming in the form of an e-mail purporting to be from a trusted source. Usually, however, it is an attempt to get at your money.
Identity Theft: Who do you Trust?
These messages may appear to come from a friend or relative in need, or from a financial institution or technology company. But really these are fake emails. How can you tell? Always be suspicious, and err on the side of caution if a message is asking for: money, your user ID, passwords, social security number, account number, or anything of the like. If you’re uncertain, call that person or company to be sure. But don’t use the phone number or web link provided in the message.
If you’re not sure whether to trust a pop-up, phone call, or e-mail notification, give your local reliable computer company a call. Bergen IT, for example, can often tell you in a matter of moments whether the email is genuine, and what you should do.
And if the computer company is reputable, they should do that assessment at no cost.
So how did Jane become victimized? Find out in Fight Identity Theft with Computer Security.
Have questions about identity theft?
Contact Bergen IT:
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Bergen IT provides computer, mobile device, audio, TV, and home theater services. Our focus is on providing personal attention, reasonable rates and top-notch expertise. For more information, go to: www.bergenit.net.