Monday, May 2, 2011

Scams of the Week: May 2, 2011

Search Engine Optimization Scams - Unfortunately scams take advantage of every single situation to arise anywhere in the world.  With the death of Osama Bin Laden and the release of President Obama's long form birth certificate, internet search engines lit up with searches for details about both. And of course, many sites take advantage of these highly searched terms, load up their webpages with keywords that drive traffic to them.  Once these websites are clicked (more often, the content within the sites), they might load information stealing-malware onto computers. So be very careful which sites you go clicking around on.

Osama Bin Laden Death Video - Facebook's new phishing scam.  Click on the link and it steals your info, loads your computer up with malware. We predicted this would happen about an hour before we heard about it. We thought we might get the word out before the thing went viral, but we were just late. If anyone dies, goes into rehab, or anything that is self-detrimental, expect some link on Facebook to pop up asking people to check out a video with them in it.  Don't click on them. Ever.

XBox Live Modern Warfare 2 Phishing Scam - The BBB of British Columbia picked up on this one. Phishing scams on gaming services are rare, but they will probably become more prevalent as scammers learn the ins and outs of gaming systems and services.  In this case, Microsoft warns gamers to avoid doing business with anyone unfamiliar who solicit them with "title specific" messages. Having played Modern Warfare 2, I'm not sure what "title specific" messaging is, but be careful anyway.

Walmart Vacation Winner Scam - This used to be primarily an email scam, now it's over the phone.  If someone calls you, saying that you've won a trip because you shopped at Walmart, it is a scam.  It's often a phishing scam, but sometimes, they will forward you a check and tell you it's to pay taxes. They will then tell you who is to collect the taxes and have you wire the check to them.  The check they gave you is fake, and you will be out however much you wired elsewhere.

Google Sniper - Another get rich quick scheme.  It's nothing special.  It has audacious earnings claims and tells people that they're fools for not getting into this deal that looks like EVERY OTHER deal. Don't bother. It will have the same results as the others--zero to nominal income at the cost of thousands to buy in.

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