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Don’t fall for this email scam that almost cost an elderly woman $25K

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Don’t fall for this email scam that almost cost an elderly woman $25K

Unfortunately, phishing scams seem to be the new normal. 

Most recently, an elderly woman in the tri-state area almost got scammed for $25,000. 

According to Patch.com, what began as an average phishing scam turned even more sinister when the scammer turned up at this elderly victim’s house to retrieve money physically.

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Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson has a warning about an email scam. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Geek Squad scammer caught in elaborate phishing scheme

While this Geek Squad scam isn’t new, this scammer took it to new lows and got caught in the process. In this particular scam, scammers send their victims phishing emails pretending to send them a large invoice for their Geek Squad subscription. The email recipients usually panic at the large charge and call the customer service telephone number listed in the scam email and invoice. 

The scammer then pretends to be the customer service representative helping to cancel or refund the charge. They’ll usually use that moment as an opportunity to confirm bank account information with the victim to steal their money later. Even if you simply click on their links or download the invoice from the email, there is a potential risk that viruses or malware have been downloaded onto your device. 

woman on phone

A woman on her cellphone and laptop. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: THE ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’ EMAIL SCAM IS TARGETING AMERICANS

Elderly victim foils scammer’s elaborate plot

The elderly victim gave her bank account number and remote access to her computer. The scam, however, doesn’t just stop there. The scammer went a step further and proceeded to convince this elderly woman that they had accidentally refunded a fake $25,000 into her bank account by mistake and that he needed her to withdraw $20,000 in cash initially for him to pick up with arrangements to pick up the remaining $5,000 the following day. This is when the elderly woman called her local authorities. Thankfully, the authorities set up surveillance and apprehended the scammer when he came to collect the $20,000. 

Perhaps the elderly victim lucked out that this scammer had an extra level of greed: combining multiple scams into one. 

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A woman stressed out while on a phone call. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: 7 EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MORE SECURE AND PRIVATE ONLINE

How do you prevent this scam from happening to you?

Know your subscriptions: The better you know what active subscriptions you currently pay for, the less likely you are to realize such emails are fake. 

Organize your invoices: If you’re still receiving emails or physical invoices, keep track of when they usually arrive. Invoices, for better or worse, come regularly and on a consistent schedule. If something shows up in an unusual form (an email instead of a letter in the mail per usual) or at a particular time, you are more likely to stop yourself from falling for this type of scam.

Go to the official website for contact information. If the scammers happen to pick a company that you do subscribe to, it can be even easier to fall for this type of scam. But before clicking any links, downloading any invoices or calling the number listed, you can google the company’s official website and use the contact information there. If the company did indeed send you a bill, they should be able to help you with the refund or confirm whether you were sent legitimate communications.

Watch for language and tone of voice: Most legitimate companies go out of their way to specially train their employees to provide their customers with excellent service. They are trained not to lose their temper, so if you happen to be on a call with a scammer, they often don’t use professional language or have a professional demeanor. If you push back on providing certain information, a real customer service agent wouldn’t make any threats or demands. Providing Social Security numbers or bank account information is usually frowned upon for security reasons by legitimate companies. Legitimate companies typically have other ways to validate your identity and account information. You can always hang up the phone if you get overwhelmed on a call! After all, an honest company doesn’t disappear after one disconnection. 

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Setup payments electronically: If you have your subscriptions paid electronically on a regular basis, you’ll know that you shouldn’t be receiving an additional invoice for a subscription service. Additionally, if you are paying with a credit card, you can try to use a specific card for all your subscriptions so you know where and when to expect the charges. You’ll also know that certain bank information shouldn’t be relevant to paying an invoice if you get one of these phishing emails. For instance, why is the scammer asking for bank account information when you charge your subscriptions on a credit card, etc.?

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scam illustration

Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson shares his caution about an email scam. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

SCAMMERS ARE USING FAKE NEWS, MALICIOUS LINKS TO TARGET YOU IN AN EMOTIONAL FACEBOOK PHISHING TRAP

What to do next if you’ve been scammed?

These scammers could have obtained your email address through various methods, from email harvesting to purchasing it from the dark web; below are some active steps you can take to protect yourself if you feel you have been scammed:

1. Change passwords: For any accounts that might have been accessed or mentioned to or by the scammer, you should log in from a secure, virus- and malware-free device and change your password immediately. It is best to create unique and complex passwords, including letters, symbols and numbers, for each separate online account. If you need help generating and storing complex passwords, consider using a password manager.

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2. Keep an eye on all your accounts and credit consistently: Contact the financial institution and explain the situation for all accounts impacted by the potential scammer. They can help you freeze or lock your account, so these scammers have little or no access to your money. Contact the three main credit bureaus to freeze your credit. This will prevent anyone, including hackers, from wreaking havoc on your credit. Make sure to report any errors on your credit reports with the credit agencies. Remember that you are allowed a free annual credit report. If there are too many accounts for you to keep track of regularly, a credit monitoring service can help by constantly monitoring and alerting you of any account changes or problems.

3. Setup alerts for financial accounts: Most financial institutions offer financial alerts or restrictions for all transactions for checking accounts and cards. Do use them so you can be notified of any fraudulent transactions immediately. The faster you can report these charges to your financial institution, the more likely you can stop the scammers in their tracks.

4. Enable two-factor authentication for any account impacted by the phishing scam: This would include your financial accounts and email address. If you have this additional layer of security on, the hacker or scammer would have to send a code to another device or account to gain access, even with your password. 

5. Get Identity Theft Protection: While getting an identity theft service seems overkill, many identity theft protection services can help you when your accounts get compromised. They continually monitor the dark web and your financial accounts to see if any crucial personal information like your email addresses or bank account information is compromised or up for sale on the dark web. Getting those alerts immediately allows you to act faster and take the above-mentioned steps. If you have already given out your information to a potential scammer, you should follow these steps to ensure that your identity hasn’t been stolen. See my tips and best picks on how to protect yourself from identity theft.

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6. Use strong antivirus software: If you have antivirus software installed on the device where the scam email was received and any links clicked or attachments downloaded, run a scan on that device to identify suspicious software, delete it, and restart your device. Get my picks for the best 2024 antivirus protection winners for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices.

7. Call the local authorities: While you hope never to encounter a scammer like the elderly woman who was victimized, if you feel unsafe and uncertain about how scammers will use your information, definitely reach out to local authorities. 

DON’T CLICK THAT LINK! HOW TO SPOT AND PREVENT PHISHING ATTACKS IN YOUR INBOX

Kurt’s key takeaways

While there is little you can do about your digital information swimming around the internet, there are active steps you can take to protect yourself from these types of phishing scams. In the worst-case scenario, there are also ways to prevent further compromise if you fall victim.

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Have you been a victim of a phishing scam? How did you find out it was a scam? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

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Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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Yahoo resurrects Artifact inside a new AI-powered News app

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Yahoo resurrects Artifact inside a new AI-powered News app

Artifact is dead, long live Yahoo’s version of Artifact. The architecture behind Artifact, the news aggregation app built by Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, will live on inside the body of a brand-new Yahoo News app.

Available to download today on iOS and Android, the new Yahoo News app brings an AI-powered personalized news feed for users based on their interests, while a feature called Key Takeaways can give a bullet summary of a news article when a reader is feeling TL;DR.

Other features of the Yahoo News app include Top Stories, which picks up on trending stories for users to read and will soon include key takeaway summaries. You can block stories with undesired keywords, as well as filter out certain publishers to your preference. And just like Artifact, Yahoo News also lets you flag content like clickbaity headlines, then lets AI rewrite them to something better.

Yahoo is also taking some of what it’s building in the News app to the Yahoo News online homepage. Starting today, the website has a new layout that highlights top news, gives personalized recommendations, and shows trending topics. The new homepage experience is opt-in.

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Former head of NSA joins OpenAI board

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Former head of NSA joins OpenAI board

OpenAI has appointed Paul M. Nakasone, a retired general of the US Army and a former head of the National Security Agency (NSA), to its board of directors, the company announced on Thursday.

Nakasone, who was nominated to lead the NSA by former President Donald Trump, directed the agency from 2018 until February of this year. Before Nakasone left the NSA, he wrote an op-ed supporting the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the surveillance program that was ultimately reauthorized by Congress in April.

OpenAI says Nakasone will join its Safety and Security Committee, which was announced in May and is led by CEO Sam Altman, “as a first priority.” Nakasone will “also contribute to OpenAI’s efforts to better understand how AI can be used to strengthen cybersecurity by quickly detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats.”

Recent departures tied to safety at OpenAI include co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who played a key role in Sam Altman’s November firing and eventual un-firing, and Jan Leike, who said on X that “safety culture and processes have taken a backseat to shiny products.”

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to have huge positive impacts on people’s lives, but it can only meet this potential if these innovations are securely built and deployed,“ board chair Bret Taylor said in a statement. “General Nakasone’s unparalleled experience in areas like cybersecurity will help guide OpenAI in achieving its mission of ensuring artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.” 

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Chilling fake of birthing 30,000 babies in eerie artificial wombs

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Chilling fake of birthing 30,000 babies in eerie artificial wombs

The intriguing yet fictional video, “EctoLife: The World’s First Artificial Womb Facility,” has recently regained traction on social media, likely due to creator Hashem Al-Ghaili releasing another fake video – on head transplants called “BrainBridge” – sparking discussions and raising questions about the EctoLife video’s authenticity. 

However, both videos are conceptual presentations and do not depict an existing facility or technology.

An image from the controversial concept video (EctoLife)

A thought-provoking concept, not a reality

The EctoLife video, created by Hashem Al-Ghaili, a science communicator and filmmaker, presents a futuristic concept of an artificial womb facility that claims to offer a safe and pain-free alternative to natural pregnancy and childbirth.

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The video showcases rows of fetuses in clear, football-shaped pods inside a high-tech building, accompanied by a narrator describing the facility’s capabilities.

However, it’s crucial to understand that the EctoLife video is a concept video and not a representation of an existing reality. Al-Ghaili himself has clarified that the technology depicted in the video does not yet exist, and the video is marked as a “concept” near its end.

artificial womb 2

Controversial concept video (EctoLife)

KURT’S BEST FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE 2024 

Partial ectogenesis: A more realistic approach

While the concept of complete ectogenesis (gestating a fetus entirely outside the womb) remains a distant possibility, researchers are making progress in the field of partial ectogenesis. In 2017, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia successfully gestated premature lambs in artificial womb-like “biobags” for several weeks. However, experts emphasize that these efforts are focused on potential life support options for premature human babies, not an alternative to full gestation.

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)?

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ARTIFICIAL womb 3

Controversial concept video (EctoLife)

Sparking discussions and ethical considerations

While the EctoLife video may not depict a current reality, it has succeeded in igniting discussions about the potential implications and ethical considerations surrounding artificial womb technology. As scientific advancements continue, it is crucial to engage in thoughtful dialogue and address the complex ethical, legal, and social issues that may arise.

As Hashem Al-Ghaili stated, the main goal of creating the video was “to ignite the discussion about an emerging technology and to highlight scientific progress in the field of ectogenesis.” By presenting a thought-provoking concept, the video has sparked conversations that could shape the future development and regulation of artificial womb technology.

artificial womb 4

Controversial concept video (EctoLife)

BOSTON DYNAMICS’ CREEPY ROBOTIC CANINE DANCES IN SPARKLY BLUE COSTUME 

Kurt’s key takeaways

While the resurfacing of the EctoLife video has reignited discussions and raised eyebrows, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. The video, though intriguing, is a conceptual presentation and not a depiction of an existing reality. However, its creator, Hashem Al-Ghaili, seems to have a knack for sparking conversations with his thought-provoking, albeit fictional, videos.

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The recent release of Al-Ghaili’s “BrainBridge” video on head transplants has likely contributed to the renewed interest in the EctoLife concept. While these videos may not represent current scientific capabilities, they serve as a reminder of the rapid pace of technological advancements and the ethical considerations that must accompany them.

As we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible, it’s crucial to engage in thoughtful dialogue and address the complex ethical, legal, and social issues that may arise. The EctoLife video, though fictional, has succeeded in igniting discussions about the potential implications of artificial womb technology, and these conversations could shape the future development and regulation of such technologies.

Ultimately, while we may not have artificial womb facilities like EctoLife just yet, the video serves as a thought-provoking glimpse into what the future might hold and a reminder to approach such advancements with careful consideration and ethical responsibility.

What are your thoughts on the implications of artificial womb technology? If a facility like the conceptual “EctoLife” were to become a reality in the future, what potential concerns would you have? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

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Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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