Criminals want your information. Why? Because your identity equals money. Cyber baddies go out of their way to create duplicate websites and legitimate looking emails/offers in order to trick you into providing them with the information they need.
One of the most common similarities in most online scams is a provided link. While in some cases the scam will follow the old school route of a downloaded virus that self-perpetuates (hijacks your contacts for targeting), the prevalence of anti-virus technology and download blockers has pushed for an innovative solution – have the victim do the dirty work.
A recent article by Roy Urrico posted to Credit Union Times outlines one such scam that has become increasingly common – The Linkedin loan/lease offer. “The San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center,” writes Urrico, “reported that LinkedIn, and its 500 million users, is one of those trustworthy social web sites that scammers use to cause potential victims to let their guard down and fall victim to a bogus loan scam.”
The scam is simple. Users receive a message that seems to come from a company or connection but offers a financial service, complete with a link to apply. A dummy application form is them presented to capture all of the pertinent information.
In order to protect yourself, security experts recommend asking some questions before clicking any link.
- Are you even remotely suspicious? – Just a tidbit? A tad? It crossed your mind? Best to…
- Have you verified? – If you didn’t request the information provided. If no one provided a heads up a link was coming. If you haven’t noticed any security issues (really, anything about security could mean trouble). Best to try contacting the company or person who sent the link directly to find out more. Visit their actual website to locate their loan form.
- Does the link look correct? – You know what a normal link looks like. But this one seems off. Or it was unexpected AND uses a standard link shortener. Verify!
- Why click? – Scammers typically use emotion as a trigger. You might say this is a standard marketing tactic – but scammers often take it to the extreme…or offer racy imagery. Once again, verify.
There tactics are not only good practice for protecting your personal information. They are also good fallbacks to protect company equipment and data from cyber security issues such as Ransomware.
Read the complete Credit Union Times article Why Do Scammers Go After Personal & Loan Data here.