The SIM Swap Scam

If you access a website and have forgotten the password, there is usually a link labeled ‘Forgot Your Password’ or similar and if you click the link they will send you a password reset request by email.  You click the reset request in the email message and reset your password.

Now, if scammers can get hold of such an email message, then they can reset your password and lock you out of your own account and you will have great difficulty getting your account back.

This situation is becoming more dangerous as many people and businesses rely on mobile phones for proof of identity. e.g. your bank may send you security numbers to type into your account to prove your ID but if scammers can access your phone and read your messages, they are in control.

The SIM Card Swap

Unless you have leave sufficient information openly online for scammers to break your password, then their usual approach is called social engineering.

This means to take advantage of people’s trust. So they will research your information online and use what they find to convince a mobile phone shop worker (or customer service worker) to cancel your current SIM card (I lost it) and activate a new one.

They will then have access to your messages, contacts list etc.

Then they try to access your bank account and shopping accounts.

Prevention

To be safe, you need to limit the amount of personal information that is available about you online. Anything you make public can be read by criminal’s intent on defrauding you or stealing your identity.

Text messages are very useful, but remember that they are not encrypted and can potentially be read by anyone.

You can use APPS that encrypt the data such as iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, etc. for anything that must be kept private.

If there is any suspicious activity on your account or you receive suspicious calls, then contact your bank or phone company.

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Councillor Pothole

Councillor Roy Owen got tired of just attending council meetings and decided to tackle some of the council’s problems by hand – potholes, litter, rubbish dumping etc.

Roy lives in Caernafon and the streets have a serious pothole problem but the council is short of money and the complaints from the residents pour in.

So, Roy armed with his van, asphalt, a blow torch and some tools started filling the holes.

Now, he does this for much of the week and also helps to get rid of rubbish piling up and other jobs as the residents need. He does have to skip some council meetings – what a shame.

Roy, who is 60, has been carrying out repairs for the last two years in his Seiont ward in Caernarfon and it’s all due to the number of complaints he receives from residents about potholes and that the council cannot deal with them in a timely manner.

Roy’s only cost apart from his own time is about £26-a-week spent on asphalt, paid from his councillor’s allowance.

He is trained in road repairs but the council is not so pleased with his actions and says that the work should always be carried out by a highway authority.

“I go out and deal with the problem head on,” he has said.

Unsurprisingly, his residents love him and he wins his council ward election by a huge margin each time.

Roy is what a councilor should be – someone who gets the job done and makes a difference.

Nice one Roy. You are an honorary Ninja.

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Automated Scam Calls

PPI callers and many others have been using automated systems for years that call and ask you questions then get you to press a button to be connected to an agent.

Automated systems are a lot cheaper than staff so for the criminals engaged in large scale scamming, this can be the most efficient way.

Action Fraud Technical Support Scam Calls

Action Fraud say people are receiving cold-calls from fraudsters claiming to represent Action Fraud. When the calls are answered, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.” When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.

Victims are informed that their computers have been hacked, which has led to their online bank account being compromised and funds being withdrawn. One particular victim was told that £40,000 had fraudulently left their account.

The scammer may ask for remote access to the victim’s computer, via a remote access tool. Once the scammer has that, they may be able to access confidential information, login and passwords, credit card details etc.

HMRC

The scam sees people called randomly with an automated message warning that they are under investigation by HMRC and need to call the number given or “face serious legal consequences.”

If you call back the crooks will likely ask for your bank details and make off with your money.

HMRC does not make threatening phone calls. HMRC will call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages, however it would include your taxpayer reference number.

Talk Talk Example

“I have had an automated phone call from this number 081233472243. It was informing me that my internet connection would be cut at 1pm today, press button 1 to speak to an agent or button 2 to stay connected. I chose to hang up.

This is the first time I have had an automated call, I have had a lot of calls lately concerning my internet connection, I always hang up or sometimes they hang up when I tell them I don’t believe they’re from TalkTalk. They always ask me to turn my computer on, I always refuse.”

Good job she didn’t fall for the scam.

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The State of Scamming in Australia

Government statistics show that 161,528 reports of scammers were raised with the Australian Authorities in 2017, of which 8.7% involves financial loss.

Total lost estimated to be $90 million.

The biggest chunk of this was to investment scams (approx. $34M), then dating and romance scams (approx. $22M), then business and employment scams (approx.$7M).

Following those were advance fee fraud, buying and selling scams, false billing, inheritance scams, remote access scams, threats to life and finally betting scams.

The age group that lost the most money was the over 65s.

The most common scams reported are:-

  1. Phishing
  2. Identity theft
  3. False billing
  4. Lottery scams
  5. Buying and selling scams
  6. Rebate scams
  7. Remote access scams
  8. Advance fee Fraud
  9. Threats to Life
  10. Online Shopping Scams

Beware of those scammers.

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Hacktivism

Hacktivism (a portmanteau of hack and activism) is the subversive use of computers and computer networks to promote a political agenda or a social change. Its ends are often related to the free speech, human rights and freedom of information movements.

Opinions differ as some people believe hacktivism is a growing force and will become more active and take on bigger challenges. But, others believe it is a spent force and will die away slowly over the coming years.

Mr. Robot

“Mr. Robot” is a TV series that tells the story of hacker Elliot Alderson  and his role in an anarchist collective called “fsociety,” whose followers wear masks that resemble “Rich Uncle Pennybags” from the Monopoly board game. Mr Robot is now making its fourth series.

The series was inspired by a notorious computer hacker named H who has gone from trying to bring down the authorities — to working for them.

As a key member of the hacking group known as Anonymous and a founder of its elite “LulzSec” unit, Hector Monsegur helped launch cyber attacks on government and corporate targets including the US Senate, the FBI and major credit-card companies.

But when he was arrested in 2011, Monsegur — known online as “Sabu” — began secretly cooperating with an investigation that led to a wave of arrests across the US, Great Britain and Ireland.

Today, Anonymous still goes by the motto it unveiled in 2009: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

Hector Monsegur

But Monsegur, 35, says society has little to fear from the online anarchists in Guy Fawkes masks as “Anonymous is irrelevant.  “All it is now is a figment of hipsters’ imagination.”

Monsegur pleaded guilty to seven felonies as part of his deal with prosecutors and spent nearly eight months in Lower Manhattan’s infamous Metropolitan Correctional Center before being sentenced to time served in 2014.

The following year, Monsegur, landed a job working remotely as a “white-hat hacker” for Seattle-based Rhino Security Labs, helping companies identify vulnerabilities in their computer systems.

He admits that in comparison to what he used to do before, it’s not the same kind of thrill.

The article at http://www.fightbackonline.org/index.php/guidance/12-explanations/108-is-hacktivism-a-force-for-good has more information on Hacktivism.

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