Submitted by Rachel R on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 8:53am
Be careful what you click! A new scam is spreading
Image Source: StockSnap.io
A new scam spreading across Wilmington, North Carolina can hit anyone that uses Gmail. The scam can result in identity theft as well as stolen information for anything you store in Google. For many people, there is credit card information, other passwords, banking information and a list of your contacts - this has the potential to wreck your finances.
How the Scam Works
Even cybersecurity experts report this scam is impressively believable even for those that consider themselves wise to internet scams. It starts with an email in your Gmail inbox, and it looks like it’s from someone you know who fell for the scam and had their contacts infiltrated. The message will contain either a link or an image and a message encouraging you to click.
Because it comes from a trusted source, you may click the link or the image. Usually, when you click an image in an email like this, you can see a preview. In this phishing scam, a Gmail login window pops up to fool you into thinking you need to enter your password. But it’s not Google you’re logging into - it’s a site that steals your information. Many Wilmington consumers have fallen for this.
What Happens Next?
The page that opens looks just like the real Google login page. At the top of your screen, in the URL bar, the words accounts and Google are in there. That makes it look convincing enough to fool most people. Once you log in with your Google info to the fake site, the scammers have control of your account. Then they use your information to spread like a virus to your other Wilmington contacts.
A description on "Hacker News" describes how this scam spreads. As soon as the fraudsters obtain your login credentials, they use an attachment and subject line from one of your previous emails and send to your contacts embedded with the bogus link. That allows it to keep spreading while they are doing other things like downloading all your emails, contacts, and can even reset your password and lock you out.
How to Protect Yourself
Wilmington consumers should look at the full URL of a link, not just part of it. For instance, this phishing scam URL starts with data:text/html and then has accounts.google.com, but then has more characters in the string and end with many more characters. The real Google login is straightforward. The real Google login page starts with https: and the “s” means it’s a secure login.
You will see https://accounts.google.com and then some characters after that. There will also be a padlock icon to the left of the URL. Both the padlock and https should be green. If you don’t see these attributes, don’t enter your information. Plus, if you were already in Gmail, there is no reason for you to log in again to see an attachment. Don’t fall for this Wilmington, NC scam.
Second, you can enable two-factor authentication for your logins on many websites. You can attach your phone number to your Google account, and you log in with your password then you’re sent a code to your phone to enter as well. If you’ve been hacked before or frequently log in on public WiFi where you’re more at risk, this is something to consider.
How Cyber Fraud Can Affect Your Finances
If you store passwords in your Google account for your credit cards or banking information, you could see these stolen and your accounts drained or your cards maxed out. If you have ever emailed copies of your ID to anyone, perhaps for a job or as a backup, these could be stolen and used to open new accounts in your name. If you’re already struggling with debt, fraud can make it worse.
For those Wilmington consumers that are struggling with debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and facing debt collector stress, bankruptcy may be a good solution for you. Contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt, the Wilmington bankruptcy lawyers that can help you. Call +1-919-646-2654 now for a free Wilmington bankruptcy consultation at one of our convenient locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington.
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