Are You Smarter Than A Cyber Criminal?

 (Fort Myers, FL) As we recognize National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the headlines are everywhere warning consumers about massive data breaches exposing the personal records of millions of Americans. While there are many valuable resources available to help you navigate the maze of instructions that follow these breaches, the Lee County Sheriff Office reminds you to surf safely by familiarizing yourself with traps criminals use to trick you. This simple yes or no quiz can help you determine if you are smarter than a cyber-thief. 

  1. You receive a Facebook message from an old friend you have not talked to in a long time. The message says, “Hey, this is so funny! Check it out: http//”. You remember this person had a good sense of humor. Do you click on the link?
  2. While browsing online, you get a pop up message allegedly from Microsoft Windows that your computer is infected with a virus. You are directed to call a technician right away at the toll-free phone number provided. Do you call the number to begin the cleanup?
  3. You are shopping online when a small window pops up that says “Congratulations! Claim your prize now.” It shows a picture of what you were shopping for and a timer counting down from 10 seconds urging you to respond immediately. Is it your lucky day?
  4. The IRS sends you an email saying you owe taxes with instructions to pay up or a warrant will be issued for your arrest. The email provides a link for you to pay. Do you respond?
  5. While looking online for rental property, you find a bargain that is considerably lower than other similar properties. The ad states the owner only communicates via email or text and requires you to fill out an online application that asks for your social security number, date of birth, etc.  Do you start an email dialogue and provide your personal identifying information as requested?
  6. You receive an email stating you are the winner of the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. The email directs you to call a toll-free number to claim your prize, followed by a request to pay taxes and shipping charges. Did you hit the jackpot?
  7. Your financial institution sends you an email stating your account is frozen due to suspicious activity. The bank’s logo, address and a toll-free number makes the email look legit, but the email is addressed to “Dear Bank Customer.” Is this for real?

 The answer for all of these questions is the same. NO, NO, NO! These are all examples of common cyber threats known as Phishing/Imposter Scams, or contain Malware/Ransomware.  For more information about this Safety and Security tip, or to report a fraud or scam, please call the Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 258-3292.