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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | post

A Couple of Warnings for You, And to Pass on to Your Kids and Possibly Your Parents

by Steve Schwartz on

There is a new Facebook scam in widening circulation. If your (and by "your" I mean both your or your kid's) computer has become infected by a malware program dubbed TSPY_MINOCDO.A by Trend Micro when you go to sign onto Facebook using either "facebook.com" or "www.facebook.com," you are sent to a very authentic-looking page titled "Facebook Security Check."

This page is cleverly designed to appear to be part of Facebook's security verification process down to the tagline that reads: "Security checks help keep Facebook trustworthy and free of spam."

The purported security check asks that you verify certain personal information including names, addresses, telephone numbers and credit card information.

The "spoofed" security page is a Trojan horse — a particularly insidious one. It obviously appears real and the way it comes up on your computer makes it appear legitimate. Unlike many recent Facebook phishing scams that use links to redirect users to fraudulent login pages, this Trojan works through an executable file that places itself in the Windows startup folder, so it's always active.

It is believed the malware is downloaded onto a victim's computer through what is known as a "drive-by download" when they visited an infected website.

This underscores the importance of remembering Facebook and other social networking sites will never ask you to verify your account using credit card information.

Another current scam that targets seniors is becoming widespread, and has been seen in a number of states including California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Virginia, Colorado, Indiana and Texas.

A senior receives a call, often from a Texas area code such as 402, and the pleasant-voiced caller identifies themselves as a representative from Medicare or the Social Security Administration. The person is greeted by name and usually by address also. The caller asks the senior if they have heard that Medicare is replacing all Medicare cards with a new "high security" national medical card that is tamper and forgery proof, as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The scammer says in order to receive the new card — which will be required to continue receiving benefits — the SSA needs to confirm certain information. The senior is told they have to verify personal information including Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, bank routing numbers, driver's license numbers and the like.

According to security officials with the SSA, the scammers are very good at imparting a sense of urgency, sometimes by asking "didn't you get the letter we sent out last month?"

Those who receive such calls should hang up and report the call to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General at https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/report-fraud/, or call 1-800-447-8477.

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