Trick or Treat

The army of criminals who commit fraud and theft over the Internet have several tricks up their sleeves. They disguise themselves and rely on you to not stop, not think, and to click links or open files immediately. That's how most people infect themselves. Luckily, you can prevent most of these infections yourself, simply by exercising a little restraint.

3 Scams to watch out for.

Scam #1: Your computer is infected! The biggest criminal enterprise is the rogue antivirus product. It tries to convince you that your computer is infected so you hand over money for "antivirus protection" - which is not actually protection at all. The minute you see a fake alert, stop everything you're doing, kill the browser, and perform a full scan with the legitimate antivirus product of your choice.

Scam #2: Check out this cool link! Your friend's email or Facebook account is hijacked, and you receive a brief message with a short URL to watch a video or check out something equally "cool." The link actually leads to a malicious page with a malware download. Most shortlink services have a feature that lets you preview where the shortlink will go; use it. If you've never heard of the Web site, check the true destination domain against a reputation service, such as Webroot's Brightcloud. And don't be the first one among your friends to click a link.

Scam #3: John Doe wants to be your friend. In this one, the scammers usually duplicate the message format of popular social network sites. Instead of linking to "friend request," it takes you to a malicious page instead. To avoid this one, without clicking anything, move the mouse over the link in your email message, then look at the Status Bar to see exactly where the link leads. If the message claims to come from one company, but the URL points to a domain you've never heard of, don't click the link.

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Tim Leontowicz

Tim Leontowicz

REALTORĀ®
CENTURY 21 Fusion
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