Old Scam Gets A Modern Facelift

Beware The Phone Scam

We’ve talked extensively about phishing scams on this blog. Hopefully you remember that phishing is an attempt by a cyber criminal to get you to click on a link that will help them steal your information or hack your machine. But what we haven’t discussed is the new trend of vishing.

Vishing is, essentially, a phone scam with the help of credible looking websites. The criminal calls the target and directs them to a fraudulent website in order to steal their information. This may be logins, passwords, 2 factor authentication credentials, or other sensitive data.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are warning of the new trend. In mid-July 2020, cybercriminals started a vishing campaign at multiple companies, the FBI and CISA said in a recent advisory.

Staying Safe

We’ve learned to check email addresses and hover over links in an attempt to spot phishing scams through emails. This is especially difficult when legitimate companies are reaching out via the phone to customers. PC Matic, for instance, began an initiative reaching out to some home customers recently. So how do you differentiate the real company from the scammers?

First, never give out personal information over the phone. If you didn’t initiate the phone call, most legitimate companies will be understanding that you want to keep your private information private. This includes phone numbers, emails, financial information, or sensitive personal information like social security or account numbers. It also includes anything pertinent to your company.

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Second, always go to the verified website for the company. In the address bar of your internet browser, you’ll see a locked padlock. That indicates the website you’re visiting is secure. Avoid going to links sent to you privately. Also, avoid links that don’t match the company.

PC Matic websites, for instance, are from pcmatic.com. We’ll frequently direct comments here on Tech Talk to visit pcmatic.com/support. When you do, you’ll see pcmatic.com as the main site and a locked padlock beside the address. That’s a great indication the site is legitimate.

Finally, since most of these vishing attempts are targeting employees of companies, double checking is key. If you do feel you’re being targeted by a vishing scam, do an independent check. You should have an employee roster by division. A quick email or call to a person in the department the call is claiming to be from can be the difference between stopping an attack and becoming the victim of one.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, education is the key component in keeping yourself and your organization safe. The old TV adage still holds true today; the more you know. Keep yourself up-to-date on new scams. Make sure you’re double checking anything that feels a bit “off.” Taking some extra time to verify information will always be appreciated by your organization.

Remember, as we work more from home than ever before, criminals are working extra hard to find a way into our networks. Don’t be the reason your organization gets hacked.

As always, stay safe out there.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

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One thought on “Old Scam Gets A Modern Facelift

  1. I bought evergreen years ago. What does evergreen do for me NOW? In other words, was my evergreen enlistment of any longlasting value of upgrading to the modern threats that you MARY JAMES blog about episodically or periodically? I also, back in the day, had acquired PCMAGNUM which it seems has become a subscription service. I do not belong to the Facebooks, twitters, instagrams, or the variety of active social media platforms as an active and willing participant to reduce my exposure to internet hacking of my information, so what else besides evergreen do I need as a security system that is affordable for neanderthal-type users???
    AND
    One other area of concern to me is the upcoming election. I am concerned that foreign actors and local hackers will jumble-hack or distort the voting numbers and issues in this most important vote since we became the United States of America as a nation. With Mean Time Between Failures [MTBF] for modern solid state digital storage memories in the hundreds of years to billions of years, there is no reason for not having a mechanism where my vote can be reviewed after casting it and having it tallied to be examined by me via a 15 -16 digit code that is not related to me as a registered voter, there assuring the SECRECY of my vote. Therefore, given that the ballot I vote has a randomly generated 12 to 15 digit alphanumeric “Key” that is, when generated and applied to a ballot stored in an “active ballot” list NOT related anywhere to my name or voter ID, but simply stored as a valid ballot number that will be totaled to produce a decision on candidates or issues.

    On the ballot generated for my use, that random Key appears printed and twice, once on the ballot and once on a tear-off tab or separate sheet that I can keep as the “key” to my unique vote and with that “Key”, a copy of that “Key” that I can use to ascertain by use of that the “key” I can look up how I voted. By using that “Key” via a publically open database of keys and votes cast with that “key” to the exact vote I made on each issue for that election. All paper ballots would be preserved for 10 years, but the solid state multi terabyte memory could be stored for centuries unrelated to the voter ID, yet passed down to relatives to see how Grandpa voted in 2024.

    Mary James, the idea here is to provide a secret but guaranteed way by which voters can assure themselves that their vote as voted was counted properly and totaled without influence of foreign or domestic actors damaging the ballot integrity. I could check my vote and you could check yours without voter ID being revealed.

    Every Voter in this country could be sure that their VOTE is actually counted legitimately and accurately via the ballot they used and tallied for the choice they made on that ballot.

    Ideas Mary James? What does evergreen do for me?

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