AG warns Kansans of phishing expeditions as Christmas approaches

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Just before the holiday season, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt warned residents not to fall for phishing expeditions.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he has heard and read of a growing threat from cyber criminals lurking in fraud, fraud, and stealing personal information to gain access to finance. He said this was a good reminder of the caution to be followed online.

AG Schmidt said one of the most common forms of cybercrime is a phishing scam. Similar to the outdoor activities, he said scammers and scammers use tricks of the trade to trick victims into giving them access to information, sensitive data, and money. It is a crime that affects individuals and businesses on a daily basis.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, $ 57 million was lost to phishing scams in 2019 alone.

Schmidt said phishing schemes are disguised as legitimate email and text messages that contain information that residents believe they should open. However, these messages are modern Trojans that allow fraudsters to access personal information, finances or computer systems and cause great damage.

While scammers and scammers are constantly improving their skills, the following are typical signs of detecting a phishing expedition, according to Schmidt:

  • Well-known names – Phishing emails or texts may appear to come from a known or trusted company such as a bank, credit card company, social networking site, online store, or online payment site. Often times, the address in the message has been changed so slightly that it is not immediately recognizable, such as the use of a different domain name or the stringing together of keywords.
  • Tell stories – Phishing emails or texts usually tell a story to get the reader to click a link or open an attachment. The scammer tries to convince the recipient that there is a major problem with their computer or account and usually looks after verification of financial information or account details. This can also include a wrong invoice in order to make a payment. Several Microsoft scams have been used stating that the software company is aware of problems with a computer and needs to transfer the recipient’s money to a new bank account to avoid hackers.
  • look at that – Scammers often send links that look like messages, videos, or memes when they are actually riddled with viruses and malware that infect computers or allow hidden access to data, passwords and personal information.
  • Do I know you – If the account, sender, email, or text message looks suspicious, delete it without opening it. If the sender is not recognized, contact the company or individual using the known phone number or website rather than the information in the email.

Schmidt said the good news is that there are ways to protect finances from these undesirable practices. First he said that computers are protected by security software. Set the software to update automatically to keep up with new threats. Phones should also be set to automatically update software to protect themselves from security risks.

According to Schmidt, residents should always use a multi-factor authentication method for accounts. This means there are two or more ways to verify a user’s identity – something you know, like a password or PIN, something you have, like a token or smart card, and something you like a have a biometric fingerprint. He also said it was a good idea to back up data on a device that isn’t connected to a home or work network like an external hard drive.

If someone receives these suspicious messages, they should report the information to service providers who have procedures in place to deal with this type of text and email. Local residents can report suspicious emails by contacting either their provider or the sender’s provider if known. In the report, the resident should be careful to include all unsolicited email and explain that they are complaining about spam.

To report text messages, Schmidt said to report the spam to the messaging app in use. A copy of the message can also be forwarded to 7726 (SPAM) or reported to the Federal Trade Commission HERE.

You can find more information about fraud protection HERE.

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