Due to the current climate, the happenings around us and the multitude of new fraud schemes, we need to be more vigilant. There are so many words and terms that are part of the dialect of scammers, and those who commit fraud on a daily. Knowledge is power, so here are a few of the
popular common terms that con artists use these days. . .
Brute-force attack: A hacking method to find passwords or encryption keys by trying every possible combination of characters until the correct one is found.
Catfish: Someone who creates a fake online profile to intentionally deceive you, mostly used on Dating sites.
Drive-by download: The downloading of a virus or malware onto your computer or mobile device when you visit a compromised website. It happens without you clicking on anything at the site.
Ghosting: Theft of the identity of a deceased person to fraudulently open credit accounts, obtain loans, get utility or medical services in the person’s name.
Hashbusters: The random words or sentence contained in spam emails that allow these emails to bypass your spam filters.Keyloggers: A clandestine program that logs sequential strokes on your keyboard and sends them to hackers so they can figure out your log in credentials.
Malvertising: Malicious online advertising that contains malware – software intended to damage or disable computers.
Man in the Middle attack: When a fraudster secretly intercepts and possibly alters messages between two parties who believe that are securely communicating with each other.
Pharming: When hackers use malicious programs to route you to their own websites.
Phishing: The act of trying to trick you, often by email into providing sensitive personal data or credit card accounts.
Ransomware: A malicious program that restricts or disables your computer, hijacks and encrypts files, and then demand a fee to restore your computer’s functionality.
Scareware: A program that displays on-screen warnings of non-existent infections on your computer to trick you into installing fake antivirus protection.
Skimming: The capture of information from the magnetic stripe on credit and debit card by “skimmer” devices that are secretly installed on credit card reading systems at gas pumps, ATM’s and store checkout counters.
Spear-phishing: Phishing with personalized email, often appearing to be from someone you know.
Spoofing: Any situation in which a scammer masquerades as a specific person, business or agency – the manipulation of your telephone’s caller ID to display a false name and number.
Spyware: A type of malware installed on your computer or cell phone to track your actions and collect information without your knowledge.
Vishing: Short for “voice phishing” the use of recorded phone messages intended to trick you into revealing sensitive information for identity theft.
Whaling: Phishing attempt on a “big fish” target (typically corporate executives) by a scammer who poses as its CEO, a company attorney or a vendor to get payments or sensitive information.
We have always had to watch our backs, now we have to be so careful who we visit and follow on social media outlets. I did not know what these terms meant, and found this to be required reading in a leaflet from AARP. For more information, do your own research and share your findings with your loved ones.