Just last week, I received a call from a very distressed client.
She was expecting a delivery and had been tricked by one of those texts that told her she needed to pay a small amount of money to receive her delivery.
It got worse from there, and resulted in the scammers gaining remote access to her computer and then accessing her bank account and attempting to steal a large amount of money from that account.
This occurred when the scammers called her after she responded to that fake delivery text.
I suspect it is no co-incidence that hers is one of the millions of numbers stolen from Facebook in 2018, something that Facebook has just disclosed. (Here's our recent article on this: Have your details been stolen in the recently reported Facebook Data Breach?). Those of us who have mobile numbers on that list can probably expect lots more scam texts as a result of that breach.
This stressful incident highlighted to me, once again, the vulnerability of many people like her (and a large number of readers of this blog) and the risk they face every day on their technology, from scam emails, texts and fake websites.
What to do if you think you have been caught out
If you think you have been caught out, contact your bank immediately - cancel any card/s involved, block bank account/s if needed.
If you think someone might have access to your computer, disconnect it from the internet completely or (preferably) switch it off.
If the scammers then call you and harass you to turn it back on (quite common if they have gained remote access), hang up and block the calls. The caller can be very loud, insistent and aggressive - even threatening - but just hang up.
Get someone to check your computer as soon as possible for any nasties that might have been installed. Definitely do not re-connect the computer to the internet until this is done. (iTandCoffee can help with this - call 1300 885 420.)
Change passwords of important accounts - especially if your computer had a document that listed these passwords. (Note. This is a very unsafe practice I see far too often. A better alternative is to use a password safe to securely store your passwords. We talk about this in the video referenced later in this article.)
Ensure that your computer does not auto-fill passwords for important accounts. If a scammer gains remote access (or if someone steal your computer), they may be able to use the autofill to gain access to these accounts, often distracting you or showing a screen that hides their activities - so that you don't realise they are doing this.
If your identity data has (or might have) been given to the scammer, you will need to take further steps to protect yourself. Here's a separate article from iTandCoffee on this topic.
Some tips for protecting yourself from scams
I do sometimes feel like I am a broken record on this topic, as it appears so often in this blog. But here are some of my top tips for staying safe ...
Co-indence is so often the problem
The reality is, however, that so often it is a co-incidence or some other distraction that results in the person being caught out - as was the case for the client who was impacted last week. I have seen this occur over and over, with people of all ages. It is not just something that impacts older people.
And the results can be so distressing - confidence destroyed, money lost, relationships and health impacted.
Learn more about detecting scams in this free video
If you are not sure how to spot a scam, here is a free video of an iTandCoffee class on this topic. This video looks at all sorts of examples of scams, how to spot them, how to protect yourself, and much more.
Free service for iTandCoffee Club members
If you are an iTandCoffee Club member who has received a suspicious email, you can forward the email to iTandCoffee (at firstname.lastname@example.org) to check its validity before clicking any link. Or screenshot a suspicious text and send this screenshot for checking.
Or call 1300 885 420 if you can't email.
What's on at iTandCoffee ?
Join us for a short, fun 'topic of the day' classes known as PTT sessions (Personal Training for your Technology fitness!) - these are run on a regular basis. Or join any of our other classes shown below to learn so much about your technology.
If you have questions, why not join our The iTandCoffee Club to attend fun and informative 'user group' meetings.
All classes are run as online classes (using Zoom) which means you can attend from anywhere.
27 Sycamore St, Camberwell, Victoria Australia
Call 1300 885 420
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