Genuine or Scam? Learn the Tell-tale Signs & Teach Your Kids

We all know about Scams, right? According to Wikipedia, ‘Scam is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual through email’. So we are absolutely clear that these are unsolicited e-mails that are sent by cyber crooks to get our personal details like name, birthday, bank account number, passwords, credit card numbers etc. In other words, a scammer’s sole intention is to defraud or con the receiver.

The content of these mails are typically “too good to give a miss” type. They offer tempting discounts; unbelievably low prices; quick get-rich schemes, or dating services for almost free! Some of the offers are so good that it’s hard to resist them. Often, despite our awareness of scams, we are lured into the trap thinking, “OK. Let’s see what it entails. After all, I am aware of such scams and will not fall into the trap. What if this really happens to be a good offer?”

Not only gullible kids but even experienced senior citizens fall prey to such scams regularly. It’s not greed that’s always responsible; the desire to make a good bargain or gain some easy money the right way also lead to such actions.

This site shows the various types of e-mail scams in existence. The scary thing is that cyber crooks are dreaming up new scams everyday about which the public is unaware.

Take, for e.g., this mail sent to me.

How do I know it’s a fraud?

Þ     Its sent to many undisclosed recipients

Þ     There are many grammatical as well as spelling errors

Þ     She assumes I am a man!

Þ     Her private e-mail and the e-mail she wrote to me from are different

Þ     My service provider has already marked the message as suspicious

This is how McAfee warns me of a fraud mail:

Now here is an e-mail I received a few days ago. It obviously falls under the category of a Nigerian bank scam.

Share this with your kids and have some fun quiz time!

What are the telltale signs of a scam?

  • Grammatical errors
  • Sent to many undisclosed recipients
  • Not addressed to me by name
  • Writing currency in United States American Dollars
  • How does this person have the authority to transfer such an amount from the bank?
  • How does this person know me and why has he selected me for this transfer?

As parents you should make your children aware of such scams from an early age and keep updating their knowledge with all the latest news/stories that you come across from time to time. Knowledge is power! Empower your kids to identify and avoid trouble…and scams are trouble with a capital T.

Also, have advanced security software installed that will do the dirty work for you- identify and mark spam and scam messages. You can also download McAfee Site Advisor for free!

Happy surfing!

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10 Quick Tips to Mobile Security

Mobile security is a topic I return to again and again and why not? Considering the proliferation of smartphone among the urban population of India and the demand for the same even in rural outbacks with poor internet connectivity, it is imperative to remind ourselves that along with all the advantages (and there are many) these devices can be sources of danger for users, especially kids. And though we are aware of many of these threats, we may not be aware of ALL of them.

I was reminded of the dangers related to these phones upon reading the McAfee Q1 2013 Threat Report. Some findings related to mobile malware caught my attention:

  • Growth in almost all areas of malware and spam declined, with the exception of mobile-based malware
  • Android firmly fixed as the largest target for writers of mobile malware by 40%
  • Much of the Android malware has been for-profit SMS-sending Trojans, which help cybercriminals to hijack phones to send messages that cost their owners money

Here is a very interesting infographic from McAfee on how to protect yourself from bad apps:

So here are the promised 10 quick tips to protect your mobile phones:

1.    Beware of third-party applications; download from a reputable app store only

2.    Read other users’ reviews and make sure the app’s access permissions make sense

3.    Be wary of unnecessary permissions asked for, like an alarm clock app asking to access your contacts

4.    Protect yourself against data loss, by backing up your mobile device regularly

5.    Be wary of what you click while browsing the web, as malware makers use ads to trick smartphone users into installing infected apps

6.    Have difficult-to-guess passwords for your phone, just like you do for your PC

7.    Turn off Bluetooth and other connections when not in use

8.    Don’t use geotagging while clicking snaps. When you share them immediately, people will come to know your exact location

9.    Install an advanced and comprehensive security software in your phone to protect your devices

10.  Do use a personal firewall

A quick word on the next generation of McAfee® MobileSecuritysoftware, which offers greater control to smartphone and tablet owners over their privacy as well as protects them from financial fraud, identity theft and viruses. It is inclusive of the new McAfee App Alert™, which provides important information about what apps are doing with users’ personal information. Besides this, it also offers:

  • Call and SMS Filtering: Easily filters out spammers, incorrect numbers and unwanted texts
  • Online Management: The McAfee Web portal lets users quickly execute needed security tasks, such as backup, restore, locate, and remote lock and wipe
  • Uninstall Protection: Prevents a thief or another user from bypassing their McAfee mobile protection
  • Complete Anti-virus, Anti-spyware and Anti-phishing Protection
  • Anti-theft protection including device locking

So go on, enjoy your smartphone to the hilt, confident in the knowledge that you, your kids, your phone and your data are all safe.