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Recently in Online Scams and Security Category

The old trope of horror and suspense films -- where the bad guy's call is traced to the same house as the victim -- is taking on a new twist in an effort to scam unwitting answerers. Scam artists, able to spoof caller ID information, can make it look like they're calling from a different place or phone number. And now they've started spoofing your own number, hoping it will make you curious enough to pick up.

Don't.

After a national tragedy, like the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, you may want to reach deep into your pocketbook to help the victims, or donate to related causes. However, before you decide to donate, you may want to confirm that you're really donating your money to a real charity rather than just giving it to a scammer.

As disgusting as it sounds, some scammers have already tried to capitalize on the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Fake donation pages set up to look like funds would go to victims or victims' families, but in reality, the money was going directly to a scammer. Authorities have already had some scam donation pages taken down.

Puppy Scams? Yes, Puppy Scams

Is nothing sacred anymore? Can we not even leave pure, innocent animals out of our online scams these days?

Apparently not. The Better Business Bureau is reporting that 80 percent of sponsored advertisements about pets may be fake, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost to pet fraud. Scam artists are posting pictures of puppies, taking payment, and then never producing the pet. These people are monsters.

Where goes any hack or data breach, so comes the scam. Worried your personal information is in the hands of criminals? Give us, who are definitely not criminals, your personal information and we'll check and make sure to keep you safe. The appeal is simple, insidious, and predictable.

So it's not surprising that, following on the heels of what might be the most damaging data breach in history, here comes the Equifax scam.

Of all the hacks and data breaches going around lately, the last place you'd expect or want to get hacked is a credit reporting agency. After all, they're entrusted with an enormous amount of personal information and financial history -- a one-stop-shop for identity theft data.

So you'd hope that one of the largest consumer credit reporting agencies would have the latest and greatest when it comes to data security. You'd also hope that if one of those agencies were hacked, they'd address the issue ASAP. And maybe that addressing the issue wouldn't require victimized consumers to forfeit their right to sue.

Sorry to break it to you, but you're going to have to say goodbye to those hopes and hello to the Equifax hack.

Few things are as terrifying as the thought of a loved one, especially a child, being kidnapped. So when the phone rings and someone says they have your daughter and will kill her immediately if you hang up or fail to wire $10,000, most parents will do whatever is possible to save their child.

That's exactly the kind of compliance scam artists are counting on when they call unsuspecting parents and relatives, a practice that's been on the rise in recent years.

Unfortunately, in real life, hackers are not wiping out all our credit card and student loan debt. While there are legitimate and positive benefits to hacking, and many hackers never do anything malicious, some do engage in illegal, fraudulent, and exploitative actions. With new data breaches being reported almost weekly, many people often wonder what hackers even do with all that stolen data.

Typically, we think of stolen data as a problem for businesses, or in terms of corporate espionage; however hackers have learned to get much more creative, and even more elusive, with what they do with stolen data. Individuals are at as much as risk as businesses, but unlike businesses, individuals often cannot afford to suffer the consequences.

Simply stated, a keylogger is a piece of hardware or software that logs every single keystroke made on a computer's keyboard. Basically, it's an invisible set of eyes watching and recording every single press of a key on a keyboard. The use of keyloggers has been portrayed in television and movies as an easy way for hackers to steal usable information.

In real life, hackers use keylogging to steal account numbers, usernames, passwords, financial information, ATM pin codes, and more. However, it is worth noting that there are some legitimate uses for keylogging, such as industrial design, and when the good guys need to engage in hacking or espionage.

Nearly every internet user has encountered some form of the tech support scam in their browsing history. Although these tech support scams are rather common, the level of sophistication can vary as the majority of these are just online phishing scams.

The most common tech support scams involve a user getting a pop-up window, or redirected to a webpage, that warns the user that their computer is or may be infected by a virus. From there, the user either downloads software recommended by the warning, or calls a phone number. In either scenario, a scammer will be trying to either get the user to send them money, or steal bank account information, or other sensitive data.

We live in a 21st century digital world. That means that parents need to watch out for what their kids are doing, digitally. The apps of today have taken technology a step further towards the danger zone.

Below is a list of five types of apps that could actually be really dangerous to kids, and even adults. However, for parents, there is an added layer of difficulty, and this comes from "Vault" apps. Vault apps are designed to hide other apps, photos, videos, and other content, that a phone's owner might want to keep hidden from others.