By Dave Bell, Cyber Solutions, LLC (a division of JAK)

You don’t have to be a news junkie to know cyber security is a hot topic these days. From major Internet outages to sophisticated phishing scams, cyber threats have become a fact of life.

The ransomware industry hit $1 billion this year, buoyed by highly talented criminals who will do anything to extort money from unsuspecting citizens. Although the general public has become wise to certain schemes, the bad guys haven’t slowed down. New tactics seem to arise daily, such as this one that tries to convince would-be victims to pick up the phone.

Here’s what you should know:

In the last few years, online service providers like Google, Yahoo and Facebook have begun sending emails to their users in the event of a possible security risk, such as a log-on to your account from an unknown computer.

In the past, hackers have tried to emulate these emails and trick you into logging into their fraudulent website, which results in a compromised username and password. Now, however, they send fake security emails with an 800 number and claim you must call immediately to resolve the purported breach.

If you do call, two things may happen:

1) You’re immediately connected with a real Internet criminal, usually with a foreign accent, who tries to scam you. This person claims there is a problem with your computer, “fixes” it, and then asks for your credit card information.

2) You are sent to voicemail and kept there until you hang up. But while you wait on the line, your phone number is put in a queue, giving the bad guys a way to call you and attempt the above-mentioned scam.

The moral of the story: TBYC (or TBYD)

Remember, if you get an email that either promises something too good to be true or urges you to prevent a negative consequence, Think Before You Click—or in this case, Think Before You Dial.

Here’s an even better option: Never use a phone number from an email you received. If you decide to call any vendor, go to their website and call the number listed there.

As always, stay safe out there. If you’re concerned about this or other threats, give us a call—we’re here to answer any questions you may have.

Learn more about Cyber Solutions.