WEEU Live Security Broadcast
PC Ninja hosted its second WEEU live security broadcast at the Ninja Den on July 16. Head tech ninja Melvin Foo and radio host Mighty Mike Faust discussed online security, and special guest Detective Robert Heiden of the Berks County District Attorney’s office joined the conversation on current scams and safety issues. Here are some topical highlights and tips of the morning:
Safety for Kids:
- Supervise kids on computers/devices; set guidelines and stick to them; perform spot-checks.
- Beware of predators- you wouldn’t talk to strangers on the street; don’t talk to them online!
- Parents should have their own Facebook/social media accounts and be “friends” with their kids.
- Know that kids sometimes have multiple accounts on a single social media site, but parents may only be aware of one.
- Keep an open discussion about social media and security, especially to prevent cyberbullying and protect sensitive information. Read more tips in this article.
Some Current Scams & Viruses:
- FBI Virus: Locks your computer with a screen that looks official and says you’ve been involved in illegal activity online, then asks you to send a money order to have the computer unlocked. Read more in this alert.
- Fake Phone Support: someone calls you pretending to be from Microsoft Support, claiming that your computer has errors, viruses, needs an upgrade or performance tune-up, or some other bogus issue. They ask to enter your computer remotely to “fix” these problems, which only ends up causing more issues, such as planting viruses, and eventually leads to a request for money. Do not let anyone you don’t know and trust on your computer.
Phishing Scams: spam e-mails that try and trick you into giving away personal information, such as passwords, or bank account, credit card, and social security numbers.
- Jamaica/Nigeria Vacation Scam: you receive a call or e-mail saying that a relative/friend is trying to get home from a trip, but they need money, so you must wire money as soon as possible to get your loved one home. Chances are these “vacationers” are at home, and the scammers could be located anywhere.
- Sympathy Scams: you receive an e-mail from an individual or family after real or invented tragic events (tsunamis, hurricanes, civil unrest, etc.) pleading with you to send money to provide basic needs for victims, but you are the target of a scam, so ignore these fake pleas and only send money for disaster relief through legitimate, trusted organizations.
- E-Z Pass: you receive an e-mail that appears to be from E-Z pass saying that they need to update files because there is a problem with the transponder. They want your info, including credit card info. The letterhead looks official, but the wording and signature seem suspicious, which they are.
- Don’t open suspicious e-mails from addresses you don’t know, and if you do open them, never click on a link in the message body or download any attachments. These can lead to viruses.
- Never give out passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information through e-mail. If you are unsure if an update notification is real, call your bank or other account provider directly to verify.
- Keep informed. The DA’s office sometimes hosts information sessions, or you can go online to read about (or report) current scams at FTC.gov’s consumer page or FBI.gov, especially the e-scam page.
- If you believe you’ve caught a virus, disconnect immediately from the Internet, as remaining online can make it worse. You may want to take the computer to a professional to remove the viruses.
Detective Heiden works in the Financial Crimes and Elderly Abuse unit of the DA’s office. Visit their webpage here. We appreciate that he took time to join this live security broadcast and share his professional insights as a detective.
(As discussed on a WEEU live security broadcast 7/16/14.)