scams

15% Report Email or Social Media Account Have Been Taken Over

Episode 1443

Hacker

According to a recent study funded by Google, 15% of users have reported that their email or social media account was taken over due to phishing scams. Leo says that over 25 million users were bit by an email phishing scam, while about 35,000 were victim to keystroke loggers. Leo says that this is the season for scams and that users may get emails from the "IRS" or even phone calls demanding personal information. It's always a scam and users shouldn't fall for it.

Did I get a scam telephone call?

Episode 1436

Melissa from Nashville, TN
Man Yelling at Phone

Melissa keeps getting phone calls saying they're from AT&T and that their account had been suspended. Leo says that's the latest scam. They'll even spoof AT&T's number! And after the first of the year, it'll be the IRS. They'll want to scare her so she can act without thinking. They'll then ask for her date of birth, social security number (which is illegal to ask for) and once they have all that, they have her.

Why did I have to pay to get my Roku box to work?

Episode 1425

Cynthia from Redlands, CA
Roku Premiere

Cynthia cut the cord for a Roku about eight months ago. Now everything has stopped working and she has to pay to turn it back on. Rich says that Cynthia may have been bit by a phishing scam. He suggests having the credit card company charge it back. She shouldn't have to pay to reauthorize the box. She'll pay for the subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. But not for the box itself since she already bought it. Then she should do a factory reset on the Roku. That will make it work like the first day she bought it. She should try to watch out for scams in the future.

Should I call the 800 number on a popup?

Episode 1379

Lisa from Palo Alto, CA
Hacker

Lisa went to a website and she got a pop up notification that her computer was infected and to call an 800 number to Microsoft. Leo says not to ever call them -- just exit the popup and move on. It's not infected and those popups are designed to insnare users. It's called a phishing scam. Lisa did it anyway, though, and gave them control of a computer. Leo says that's bad news because she doesn't really know what the hacker's done. He can install viruses on her or turn it into a bot, a keystroke logger, and use remote access to turn on her camera.

How can I protect my elderly mother from online scams?

Kathleen from San Diego, CA

Episode 1361

Kathleen's elderly Aunt has a Windows computer which she uses to access Facebook and then Outlook for email. Her problem is that she has had a ton of malware and phishing scams that have cost her a lot of money. Leo says that the elderly have always been easy prey to scam artists. It won't happen on a Chromebook though, and she should really have her get one. Leo says to be her administrator and give her a regular user account. But even at the end of the day, that won't stop her from calling a number.

How can I tell a phony email from a legitimate one?

Michael from Newcastle, PA

Episode 1347

Mike wants to know how to tell a real email from a phishing email. Leo says to hover over any link that would send him to a website, and see if the link is legitimate. He should never click on it. If it says to install something, or even asks for a credit card, don't do it. That's usually the first sign of an intent to do something nefarious.

Did I get scammed by malware?

Ellen from Santa Monica, CA

Episode 1322

Ellen feels like she got ripped off by Microsoft. She got a popup saying she had a virus and listened to it, then paid $250 for support. Leo says that wasn't microsoft. That was a bad guy. Leo says it was a browser popup and they use that to phish for gullible people to sign up. Microsoft will never, ever do that. It's even worse, though. They likely got remote access and not only do they have her credit card, they have also likely installed more malware on the computer. At this point, Ellen should call the credit card company, reverse the charge and have her card number changed.