It never fails: every crisis brings out the scammers.
What Cruzio, as an ISP, particularly wants to warn you about is the email scammers, who send “phishing” email. They pretend to be your bank, your ISP, your neighbor. They pretend they’re collecting money for charity — which people are more inclined to give in troubled times. They prey on your most shameful secrets and your greediest dreams of undeserved wealth.
When there’s something on your mind, like the fact that you can’t leave your home and go about your normal life, you’re a little more susceptible. Older people, especially, may be home alone and less clued into the vast possibilities of digital deception.
So be on guard, and help your family and friends.
What We’re Seeing
Lately, Cruzio has seen some pretty convincing fakes supposedly coming from… us! The scammers scoop up a Cruzio graphic and pop it atop a serious-sounding message telling you to type your password and personal information into a website.
Don’t type it in unless you’re sure. If you’re not sure the message is from us (or your bank, or your insurance company — even more frequent targets), don’t download files or visit websites. Don’t answer if someone says they have evidence that you looked at a porn site. If they seem to know a password, change it on the real site, not by clicking a link in the email.
(By the way, personal information including passwords has been harvested in various hacking incidents affecting institutions and businesses like the Veteran’s Administration, Target, Equifax, etc. To see if your information is available to scammers on the internet, check haveibeenpwned.com.)
And if an email sounds dire, remember that the more urgent the email sounds, the more likely it’s a scam.
Be especially suspicious of any email that says you need to “verify” your account by typing in information the company should already have or which they shouldn’t need, like your social security number.
Cruzio Gets Phony Sites Down Quickly
For our part, Cruzio is on the lookout, Most phishing schemes are caught before they even get to customers’ mailboxes. Scams that do get through are escalated quickly and our specialized team takes action immediately to report and disable the link. Crooks love to operate on holidays and weekends, so our pager team — who’s on call 24/7 — has been extra busy foiling phishermen during the pandemic.
Because we act quickly to foil the phishing, even if you click on a link, the scammer’s site has almost always been disabled. The longer you wait, the better the chance the scheme’s been axed.
If we think a lot of people have received the phishing email, we put a message on our voice mail (831 459-6301).
Phony Websites Hide on Infected Computers
What websites harbor these devious plots? Generally the host sites themselves are not criminal ones. They’re innocent victims who’ve been fooled by a similar phishing scheme in the past. The scammers crowbar in and put some web pages deep into their otherwise legit website. Once informed, webmasters shut access to those pages down — very quickly.
So often you’ll see, say, a fake Wells Fargo page deep inside a suburban nail salon website. The small business doesn’t even know it’s there, and will remove it as soon as they’re alerted.
Because the internet is, unfortunately, rife with misinformation and scams, we’ve written a number of blogs over the years to help customers recognize and respond to spam. Some are linked below.
And the Federal Trade Commission maintains a blog where online privacy and security scams are listed.