HACKED or CONNED?

The terminology isn’t important. What is important is how does a thief, a crook, a con man, yes even a low life useless piece of trash get control of our computers, bank accounts, credit cards etc? Simple answer. We willingly, trustingly, non verifiably give it to them.

The worst part of this is that it doesn’t involve a virus or some other behind the scenes intrusion into our binary buddy. Once again, we, the computer user simply hand over the information these pieces of garbage need to rip us off. I receive at least a couple of calls from clients each week that have been scammed out of money. Sometimes it is 3 or 4 hundred dollars, last week a client was taken for $2500. I’ve attached a video of a woman that was scammed out of $30000, then the scammers offered to refund her money but she had to accept checks, cash them and then wire the money to the scammers from which they would issue her refund. Not once, but over and over for two years she cashed checks and wired the money elsewhere. In other words the crooks not only ripped her off, never issued a refund, but then turned her into a money mule and convinced her to launder the money for them so they couldn’t be caught.

One of the more popular scams being run today is the Refund Scam. You receive an email that says someone, somewhere purchased a big ticket item on your account and if it wasn’t you then call this phone number immediately. Below is a scam email I received recently.

The problem here is that folks see the bogus charge and immediately want it removed from their credit card so they call the number listed. From there a Refund Department scammer will kindly offer to help remove the charge but needs to have control of your computer to help you process the forms to get the refund. Scammers then have you download a remote control program that allows them to take over your computer. From here, the scammer uses a script to have you log into your bank and by blanking the screen can transfer or appear to transfer a sum larger than your refund is supposed to be. Now the scammer says that you need to send him the overage, by gift card, wire transfer etc. Scammers usually will not accept any form of payment that can be reversed hence their reliance on gift cards.

But let’s go back to the bogus email I received. Lots of red flags here that should have stopped you in your tracks. First if you read the email carefully, there is no reference to a store or company that might have sold this product. Second, the return email address isn’t a company email such as orders@walmart.com etc. Third, look at the payment terms of Net 500. In the business world that means that the client has 500 days after the invoice to pay it. Very unlikely. And finally, Windows Defender is free to download from Microsoft. The biggest flag is that you cannot go to the website of the company that supposedly sold this item and check your order history to see if it really was used by someone.

Here are two YouTube videos that show the actual scam in process. Strongly recommend that you watch them and share them with your friends and family. for warned is forearmed.

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