Over the years, I have composed dozens of columns on cyberthreats, skimming credit cards at the pump, boss-phishing, crypto locker, and identity theft. In a lot of those stories, you don’t hear about the bad guys getting the hammer.
The Department of Homeland Security has an enormous task of defending government agencies from nation-state cyberattacks, as well as criminals on our own turf.
They usually don’t have time for Joe-Bob average citizen.
Same for identity theft. If you have your identity stolen, and the criminal makes bogus purchases in your name in another state, local authorities might tell you to report in that other state, which is about as helpful as a microwave lasagna during a power outage (#Hermine).
However, the FBI is the head agency for investigating and defending us from cyberattacks. But again, they are generally after looking for the big threats, and not so much worried about the little guy or gal.
A story over the weekend shows the citizens of Florida getting some help at the state level. Attorney General Pam Bondi took down a tech company called Client Care Experts based out of Boynton Beach that was defrauding “clients” out of millions of dollars.
The alleged fraud consisted of the following scenario: They would infect a user’s PC with malware, and a pop-up message would alert the “victim” to call tech support immediately. That call would be routed to the Client Care Experts’ call center where the sales people would charge them $250 to clean the computer.
Unfortunately, as with a lot of scams, these individuals are more than likely targeting our large elderly population, making the situation even more dastardly.
A court order to shut down the company is in place, which should keep any future victims safe while the matter is thoroughly investigated and the hammer of justice pummels these fellows (if guilty, of course).
“Floridians rely on computers to communicate with family and friends, make purchases and conduct business, and when scammers target these devices they can scare and frustrate consumers, especially our seniors. That is why we are working diligently to identify and stop tech scams targeting Floridians,” Bondi said.
Online threats are becoming more and more persistent, so it’s nice to hear about someone fighting the good fight and some of these criminals getting caught.
As a reminder — if someone calls you about remotely accessing your computer, hang up and consult your IT professional. Do not click on links or files in emails that look suspicious; keep your security products (firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spam software) up to date, and utilize two-factor authentication with financial institutions.
And — last but not least — keep your passwords complicated. Stay safe out there.
Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His columns are publishing by several organizations. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.