scams

Is buying something online with eBay gift cards safe?

Episode 1561

Naomi from Denver, CO

Naomi says they are wanting to buy something online and the seller wants "eBay gift cards." Leo says that's a common scam because gift cards aren't really traceable, and you can't stop payment on them once rendered. Credit cards, or an online payment service like PayPal, offer buyer protection.Check out the book - The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time by Maria Konnikova

Has my email been hacked?

Episode 1560

Suzanne from Placentia, CA

Suzanne uses Hotmail and all of a sudden, she's getting hundreds of spam from subscribed newsletters. She also got an email about an order for a GoPro camera bought at Walmart. Leo suspects that someone doesn't like Suzanne or has stolen her identity. It's a new scam where hackers overwhelm your email address with bulk emails to distract you from the actual identity theft going on. It's called "Chaff." The idea is to be so overwhelmed with spam and bulk emails, you miss the stolen credit card activity. Shame on companies that allow signups without a double opt-in via email.

How can I protect myself from identity theft?

ID Fraud

Episode 1559

Mara from Los Angeles, CA

Mara was a victim of identity theft, and just narrowly avoided having her brokerage account drained. Leo says that Mara should change her password and turn on 2 factor authentication right away. Leo suspects the bad guys got her information from a database breach like the Collection #1 or the Marriott hack. Leo also suggests going to haveIbeenpwned.com/passwords and see if her passwords have been compromised and are known.

Have I been hacked?

Mouse

Episode 1552

George from Murrieta, GA

George got an email saying that his email account has been compromised, but it shows an old email. Leo says it's an old scam that is designed to scare him into sending the hackers money. If he's concerned, he should change his email password.

He can also go to HaveIBeenPwned.com to see if his email has been legitimately hacked. But changing the password will fix it. And while he's at it, he should turn on 2 Factor Authentication. He can simply ignore the extortion email, though.

How can I change the battery in my MacBook Pro?

Apple MacBook Pro

Episode 1552

Cotton from Surprise Valley, CA

Cotton has a 2013 MacBook Pro, and recently had to buy a battery from MacSales.com because it began to swell. He also replaced the SSD. He had to remove the battery with acetone because it was glued in. But after installing it, the laptop was dead. Leo says to head over to iFixIt.com and check out their instructions on replacing the battery in his laptop. He may have missed a step. But it's also very possible that Cotton may have shorted out something like a fuse.

A Popular Microsoft Scam Has Been Traced Back to India

Computer mouse

Episode 1545

For a long time, scammers have been calling or displaying a popup message on PCs with the threat that their computer access will be restricted if they don't call a number and make a payment. According to the New York Times, this official looking message is coming from a scam operation in Mumbai, India - which is the main hub for call centers. Leo says that's because the real tech support people are moonlighting with this scam.

Would Apple robocall me?

Man yelling at phone

Episode 1540

Bob from Danville, CA

Bob and his wife keep getting robocalls from Apple. Leo says those are scams. These are fake robocalls claiming their iCloud has been breached. Apple would never call him. If something really did happen, Apple would just put out a press release. Bob shouldn't call them back. Even better, if he doesn't recognize the number, he shouldn't answer. If it's important, they will leave a message.

How can I stop robocalls?

woman on phone

Episode 1531

Jessie from Durango, CO

Jessie keeps getting robocalls and the numbers they get are either disconnected or bogus. Leo says that they are bogus, and according to a recent survey, by 2019, 80% of cell phone calls will be robocalls. And nobody knows what to do about it. Most are from overseas. They forge the caller ID, and will even do it with the recipient's area code and prefix. The reality is, legitimate companies will not be calling. They'll be using mail. Jessie can log her number into the DoNotCall.Gov database.