Welcome to February, my birthday month.
In honor of my birthday, my challenge to you is to stop thinking and start doing! If Cyber-Security is what you want to start, reach out to us at 301-576-2977, we’d be more than happy to provide you with Cyber-Security career advice.
This month, we will be discussing “LOVE AND CYBER CRIMES”.
It is about time for the love holiday to begin. VALENTINE day! Yes, the one celebrated annually on FEB 14th. It is the day to profess love in form of cards, candy, flowers and teddy bears. More importantly, this is a great holiday to spend with loved ones, Cute isn’t it?
Since we now live in a digital world, this is also a day where many singles decide to give online dating a try. But we need to be careful to not fall into the hands of cyber criminals in the name of finding love.
While dating sites are full of honest people trying to find love, they can equally be dangerous as these sites brim of scammers that are there to take your hard-earned money.
Dating scams are now rampant in the online world. You don’t need to be paranoid about it, but you should take the necessary precautions. But what exactly is a Romance scam? Romance scam is when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then use the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator. At times, they don’t just take your hard-earned money, they also go as far as using their victims as a means of perpetrating evils like laundering money. This can lead the victim to jail or obligated to paying back loans that they never took. All of this can feel disheartening.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it recorded more than 21,000 reports of romance scams in 2018 with losses adding-up to $143 million—more than any other consumer fraud type identified. Cyber love criminals can take weeks or months to groom a victim and trick them into believing they are real. They nurture victims till they are fully vulnerable to the scam.
These Cyber “Love” Criminals share common traits that you should be on a lookout for. Be weary if your potential love interest:
- Claims to be from the US but currently living, working, or traveling abroad
- Avoids any type of calls especially video calls
- Claims to be a US service member deployed overseas
- Request for personal information, opening account or shipping items
- Request for financial help which needs to be urgently sorted
- Come up with the idea of sending you money, a strategy to get victim’s bank details or other information
- Will want to quickly take you from dating site to either Hangout or Whatsapp/Instagram
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Tips To Prevent Yourself From Dating Scams
- Be Anonymous:
When creating a dating site profile, don’t use your name. Instead use a pseudonym (i.e. foxy-proxy2021)
- Never Send Money:
Unless you have met the person and have established a good history with them, do not send money or disclose any personal information to them. This includes banks details, social profiles and other personally identifiable information which could be used to access your financial accounts. Anyone that truly wants to date you should not be interested in obtaining money from you.
- Do Not Share Financial Information:
Financial information like your credit cards or bank details should never be shared with anyone. They are for just you and you alone. Although for personal reasons known to you, you might want to share them with your family but never share them with anyone online no matter the level of trust as these are highly sensitive information which can render you vulnerable to fraudulent actors.
- Do Not Share Contact Details:
Don’t share your contact in your profile or give it out at the initial stage of conversation. This includes your email address, home address, and phone number. If and when you decide to share your email, consider creating a separate and anonymous email address. In general, experts advise individuals not to give out too much personal information to another person before meeting them face-to-face. Also, be sure to take precautions when meeting an online connection face-to-face for the first time.
- Insist on Video Call:
Once you start a relationship online, the first precautionary measure to prevent getting defrauded in guise of love is to request and insist on a video call. If he/she refuses or give excuses like having a bad phone or network, then it could be scam: DON’T FALL FOR IT!!
Also, do not agree to meet anyone without firstly having a video call with that person.
- Beware of Anyone Claiming to be a Deployed Soldier:
This is one of the online formats used for romance scam. They claim to be a US soldier deployed to African countries but now close to ending their services to retire and start a family. They request immediate financial help like transportation, processing and medical fees by claiming to be stranded and stuck in the country he has been deployed to.
- Research Potential Connections:
Conducting a Google search on new contacts to make sure they are who they say they are. It’s recommended to do an internet search using the person’s first name, last name, and location. It’s also a good idea to do a reverse Google image search on the contact’s photo, as romance scammers often use stolen images in order to avoid being caught.
The goal of this newsletter is not to make you paranoid about dating, but rather to ensure you engage with awareness. It is our responsibility to keep enlightening and ensuring you stay safe online. And yes, we are proud to help the best way we can to keep you secured.
Or call 301-576-2977
- Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure:
This course will teach students how to configure the SPLUNK-app for windows infrastructure. This is an intuitive tool that will provide every security analyst with the visibility they need for their network. It’s been cooking and almost ready. I’m sure you’re going to love it.
- PJ Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program:
PJ Pros will soon release a comprehensive security awareness training course very soon. This will be a free course for employers to use to train their staff and meet their annual security awareness training requirements.
- AD Project volunteers wanted:
Adobe flash is approaching end of life. We need a volunteer to help disable flash on chrome, explorer and edge via AD group policy. We will need to test this out in lab first then move to production. Let me know if you’re interested in volunteering.Do not volunteer if:
– you are not familiar with any of the technical terms I just mentioned.
– you don’t have 10-15 hours per week to devote for this effort for the next 4 weeks