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Blake Dowling: Con artists, crooks and hackers — old dogs with new tricks

Old dog, new dog, it doesn’t matter, the scams will keep coming.

2020 has been a banner year for criminals.

The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” does not apply to the world of con artists, criminals and hackers.

All spring, summer, and now fall we have seen instances of scammers trying to take your money, with attempts on the young, the jobless, the elderly and some target anyone with a computer.

Let’s take a look at some of these from high-tech to low tech here we go.

Do you have a child in college?

Hopefully, you didn’t get the call that they found work and already received their first check in this work-from-home scheme.

Beware emails with .edu in the address that promise easy money and that they will send a check as a first step, like a signing bonus. Once the check is deposited the trouble starts as the check is bogus.

So, when the scammer asks you do make a withdrawal and pay them back some of the money (for supplies, etc.) your account is closed for fraudulent activity potentially but not before the scammers have your cash.

Make sure the students in your life know about this. More about this out of Miami …

This month another old scam is making waves in Florida, with a new twist (and taking people’s money). The old scam was a phone call to a parent or grandparent telling them their relative was in jail and to send bail money; the scam had an appearance of legitimacy because the criminal would spoof the local jail or police office and it would appear to be that number calling in.

The new twist says something like: Due to COVID-19 concerns, bail cannot be delivered in person; it must be done over the phone — now.

Perhaps they have done their homework and followed your felon granddaughter on Facebook; they know this is not the first time law enforcement called the house.

As a reminder, when you post something on the internet, it is out there for good. As I mention in many of my columns, social activity can (and is) monitored by the criminal element.

If you get this type of call, hang up, call your relative, make sure they are safe and report it to the authorities. More this out of Jacksonville/Tallahassee …

A party at FSU last weekend. Wow.

The amount of time we have all been in “pandemic mode” probably has us more likely to believe a con; the bad news is flowing like keg beer at last weekend’s Florida State party. Wow. That pic.

Huge spike in Leon County expected now, I guess?

Anyway, we have seen people knocking on doors offering (fake) COVID tests and a gazillion COVID themed email attacks out there. In fact, ZDNet says email attacks were up 667% in March alone.

Despite cyber training and alerts that people are still likely to click, there are also thousands of new COVID themed websites, with 90% of them deemed “scammy” or embedded with malware of some kind.

If you want to be fully depressed, read this.

A crisis brings out the best in our nation; it also brings out the worst.

As the sign says, “beware of dog,” old dog, new dog, it doesn’t matter, the scams will keep coming; and (maybe) one day soon we can all sit down for Kessler Margaritas at the Grand Bohemian in O-town and toast goodbye to 2020; book your NYE tables now.

Be safe out there.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

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Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or at www.aegisbiztech.com

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