How to Spot Online Scams Using Google’s New Tool

· Andrew Orr · Link

Google scam spotter

Partnering with the Cybercrime Support Network, Google has a new tool called Scam Spotter. It gives you a quiz to help you spot online scams. It simplifies advice from experts into three golden rules:

  • Slow it down: Are they telling you it’s urgent? Take your time and ask questions to avoid being rushed into a bad situation.
  • Spot check: Are they claiming to be from a specific institution? Do your own research to double check the details you’re getting.
  • Stop! Don’t send: Are they asking you to go to the store and get gift cards? If you think a payment feels fishy, it probably is.

FTC Sends Refund Checks to Victims of Tech Support Scams

· Andrew Orr · Link

The Federal Trade Commission will send refunds to tech support scams totaling US$1.7 million. The scam operated under Click4Support, claiming to be from companies like Apple and Microsoft.

The FTC will begin providing 57,960 refunds averaging about $30 each to victims of the scheme. Most recipients will get their refunds via PayPal, but those who receive checks should deposit or cash their checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check.

PSA: People Have Been Getting Fake Military Draft Texts

· Andrew Orr · Link

The U.S. Army is warning Americans about fake military draft texts going around. They tell you to report to the nearest Army recruiter “for immediate departure to Iran.”

Some of the fake texts used real names of Army recruiting commanders — while others used fictitious names — lending the false appearance of authenticity, said Kelli Bland, a spokeswoman for the US Army Recruiting Command.

US military conscription was suspended in the 1970s. To resume the draft, Congress would need to enact legislation, according to the Selective Service System, the independent agency that would manage the draft in an emergency.

Robocalls and Scams are Killing Phone Calls

· Andrew Orr · Link

Sarah Hagi writes how the phone call is dying thanks to the rise of robocalling. Now, many people don’t answer unknown callers and instead send them to voicemail.

Speaking to so many people, it struck me how resigned everyone was to this fact: that this is seemingly just the way things are now, with no hope of it getting better, only worse. And while many believe millennials killed talking on the phone because we fear real connection, maybe it’s because we are too scared of getting scammed.

It’s appropriate to come across this article today because I’ve gotten an increase in robocalls in the past couple of days. Aside from using a robocall-blocking app, I go to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers.

What Happens When Apple Locks You Out of the Ecosystem?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple Logo

Luke Kurtis shares his story of how Apple disabled his account after he unknowingly bought a fraudulent iTunes gift card. Although he eventually got his account restored, it took two months to get it back.

Had I not taken advantage of my internal Apple contacts, I may not have gotten my account back. I spent a large part of those two months in a kind of grief, mourning not only the loss of a collection of media built up over a decade and a half, but also all the products I owned that no longer functioned as they were supposed to. The company I had given so much money to over the years could revoke my access to everything with just the press of a button.

That’s pretty scary stuff. Now that Apple Card is a product, imagine getting locked out of your account, unable to pay off your Card because there isn’t a way to do it online.

News+: Don't Give Money to Ransomware Scammers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple news plus logo

In the latest issue of PCMag, Max Eddy writes that you shouldn’t give money to ransomware attackers when they ask.

First, most cyberattacks—including ransomware—don’t last long. The command and control servers that issue the unlock commands and receive payment can be found and taken offline…In either case, anyone who has been infected and not paid the ransom can no longer get their system unlocked, even if they pay.

This is why keeping several backups is important, one online, one offline. And keep your operating system up to date with the latest security patches and improvements.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.

FCC Warns of Increase in One-Ring Robocalls

· Andrew Orr · Link

The FCC is warning of an increase in one-ring robocalls. Scammers call you once, the hope you’ll be curious enough to call back.

A long-running hustle that is reportedly seeing a resurgence involves a scammer calling someone and then hanging up after just a couple of seconds. The perpetrator hopes that curiosity will prompt the person to call back. But doing so will result in expensive per-minute charges, leaving the caller with an expensive bill if the scammer succeeds in keep them on the line for any length of time.

Former Director of FBI, CIA Foiled a Phone Scammer

· Andrew Orr · Link

William H. Webster, a former director of both the FBI and CIA, foiled a phone scammer who threatened him and his wife.

Over a number of weeks, Thomas, calling himself David Morgan, made a series of calls to the Websters, and they soon turned threatening: he described their house, and he said that if they didn’t hand over $6,000, he’d shoot them in the head or burn their house down, boasting that the FBI and CIA would never find him.

Can you imagine the look on that guy’s face when he learned who he threatened?

24 Sentenced in Recent India Phone Scam Case

· Andrew Orr · News

It included charges of conspiracy to commit identity theft, impersonation of an officer of the United States, wire fraud, and money laundering.