Don’t be Vulnerable – How Hackers Use Your Emotions

We’re emotional human beings and hackers have figured out precisely how to play on a person’s heartstrings and interfere with their emotions in order to scam them.

Be aware of these common traps:

Looking for Love

Online dating has become the new… well… way of dating. With a fair amount of people looking for Mr. or Mrs. right online, cybercriminals use this as an opportunity to scam unsuspecting people. Hackers create fake online profiles using photos of other people, then profess their love for the victim and tell you a false sad story which can be resolved if you send them money.

Most of the time victims are asked to set-up a new account and transfer money into the new account. Some people simply have their victim wire the cash to a place like Western Union.

Feeling Special – “A friend has sent you an E-Card”

The victim receives an E-Card in his or her email inbox that appears to be from a friend or family member. They open the card, resulting in malicious software being downloaded and installed on the phone or operating system. Next, this software shares private data and financial information to a fraudulent server that’s controlled by hackers.

Donations and Doing good

Cyber criminals will claim that they’re from a charity and ask for your monetary help. Or they’ll take advantage of recent natural disasters or events so that they scam seems legitimate. By preying on victims’ heartstrings and desire to do good in the world, cyber criminals are able to obtain cash and banking information from do-gooders. Be aware of how and where you donate online.

Are we friends?
You likely run across this scam regularly: the “That’s not really your Facebook friend” scam

is simple. A victim gets a friend request from someone they may or not know. But, they have some mutual friends and the victim accepts their request.

The “new friend” now has access to the victim’s friend network, photos, and information such as hobbies, groups or schools attended, where they work, interests etc. The cyber criminals create a fake account where they pose as you.

Next the “new [cybercriminal] friend” asks your Facebook friends for money or exposes them to malware after “the victim” asks them to click on a link to watch a funny video or take a survey.

Everyone should take caution online, especially when emotions are brought in, take a step back and be vigilant of your risk.