Lets talk about the scam we mentioned last week. So the way this scam works is rather simple. The scammer will call you claiming to be from Google, Apple, Microsoft or Facebook. They will tell you they are calling because their system has either detected fraudulent behavior, or their system has detected strange behavior. After which, they will go on to explain that in order for your account to remain active you will need to verify your account with them. At this point in the call if you agree with them, they will ask you for the email address associated with your account. While this sounds like a legitimate question in order to verify your account; its actually a trick to get you to disclose your username for your account. After you give them this, they will usually tell you they need a couple minutes to look into the issue and place you on hold. After they return they will tell you they have your account pulled up and in order to unlock it they must verify that you are the account holder. At this point they will tell you you must answer your challenge questions. This is yet another trick to get you to give them the answers to the questions so that they can reset your account and gain access to it. A mix of the following questions may be asked…
What city were you born?
What is your first pet name?
What is your mothers or father maiden name?
What was the name of your high school?
What was the name of your best friend in high school?
What was your first car?
What elementary school did you attend?
Who was your childhood hero?
And the list goes on, but you get the idea. Their entire plan is to get you to give them information they don’t have so that they can answer the challenge questions and reset the password on your account in order to gain access to it. This has been widely successful unfortunately, especially with individuals over the age of 55.
Now you may be wondering, why would they want access to my Facebook account. Well the answer is simple, Many Facebook accounts can be used to gain access to other accounts you may own. Remember Facebook logins are used all across the web now and many people rely on this single account to login to dozens of websites. Google accounts are especially useful because if they gain access to your email account they can reset passwords to any account you have online with ease. This is the primary reason why the majority of these calls are specifically claiming to be from Google.
Remember, FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, MICROSOFT & APPLE and ANY OTHER TECH COMPANY you may have an account for will NEVER CALL YOU TO VERIFY YOUR ACCOUNT. You shouldn’t provide any information to these individuals. Additionally if you are using any of the basic challenge questions to reset your password, mainly the ones that many people give the answers too on their social media pages (think, city born, first pet, first car, school name) you should consider changing these to more sophisticated questions with answers that cannot be easily guessed.
Further more, don’t answer questions from calls you receive claiming to be from X company. These companies do not make phone calls to account holders for any reason. The same goes for banks or financial institutes. There is a similar scam to this one specifically targeting elderly (individuals over the age of 75) by where the scammers are trying to trick these individuals into giving them their bank account or financial institute account information. They target individuals who they know have accounts at a specific bank or institute. This is why many people fall for this scam. We will talk about this in our next post.
As always, stay safe online. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.😀