#CyberFLASH: Red Deer men targeted by sextortion scam

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RCMP are investigating an extortion scam after two Red Deer men were “lured into compromising online encounters” by strangers on the internet.

Police say both victims were approached online in October by women.

The women lured the men over the internet “and then threatened to post the images online unless they were paid by their victims,” Red Deer RCMP said in a news release Wednesday.

Neither victim was defrauded of money, police said. In both cases, the women halted communication with their targets after the men informed them they were reporting them to police.

RCMP suspect there may be even more cases of this type of extortion happening in the community, but victims “may be too embarrassed to report it.”

Furthermore, investigators say these online profiles are usually fake and the scammers live in different countries, making prosecution impossible.

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#CyberFLASH: Toronto police warn public about social media scam that targets men

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TORONTO – Police in Toronto are warning the public about a social network scam that targets men.

Investigators say they’ve received reports involving social networks — such as WeCHAT, Facebook, Skype, and Kijiji — that have messaging features.

Police say the victim receives a private message request from a person who is, or purports to be, female suggesting they move from private messages to video chat.

Investigators say the video chats become sexual in nature and the requester then records video of the man in compromising acts.

The video is then uploaded to YouTube, the victim is sent a link and extorted to send money or gift cards under the threat the video will be made public.

Police say it’s believed the scammers are not from Canada.

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#CyberFLASH: Life after an online dating scam

internet-privacy.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxSelena Ramirez knows how hard it is to make a romantic connection these days. The single, 53-year-old marketing manager, who works long hours at an Edmonton technology company, is unsure where to meet someone and is finding the dating scene a lonely place. Having already had two failed marriages, on the advice of a friend she decided to give online dating a try. “I’m a dreamer at heart and hadn’t given up on finding a soulmate,” says Selena. “I was excited.”

But last spring, she found out the hard way that not everyone on Internet dating sites is looking for love. (We’ve changed names to protect privacy.) In fact, her dating site hooked her up with someone who was only looking to scam her out of her life savings—and, sadly, he succeeded. “Maurice, the man I met online who passionately said we were meant to be together, gave me a sob story that I learned too late was complete lies,” says Selena. “He told me he was a retired dentist travelling to the United Kingdom to finalize a sales contract in Iran for a new business he was setting up, supplying dental equipment to clinics across Canada. But sending his equipment here required my help. He wanted me to pay $49,000 for the package of equipment to clear customs. When I got a call from a so-called ‘courier company’ I foolishly believed it, but it was just a trap.”

Maurice told Selena that he would buy a house in Edmonton for the two of them once his business was up and running. “He said giving him the money to clear customs was an investment in our future. Now, there is no future, and the money’s gone, too.”

After the second wire transfer to Maurice for another $40,000 ($15,000 of which was an advance on her credit card), and more conversations with her bank and eventually the police, reality set in. “I had almost emptied both my RRSP and Life Income Fund (LIF) and had taken on debt,” says Selena. “Then I realized I wasn’t going to be getting any of it back. I had been swindled. I so wanted a genuine romantic relationship in my future. I was easy prey, and I’m crushed.”

All in all, Selena lost $89,000—almost all of her life savings. Now, only a dozen or so years away from retirement, she has set her mind to starting over financially. “I’ve made it my mission in life to make sure others don’t fall for these scams.”

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#CyberFLASH: Police issue public safety alert about online dating scam

image-2Police have issued a public safety alert about an online extortion scam targeting dating website users.

According to police, cyber criminals from outside Canada are creating fake profiles on several online dating sites that list their geographic location as Toronto.

The scammers then contact the victim and engage in flirtatious chats that become sexual in nature.

At some point, police say the scammers encourage the victim to disrobe or engage in sexual behavior via video chat.

Once the victim engages in compromising behavior on camera, police say the scammers end the chat, research the victim using social media sites and then send them a message threatening to send the incriminating video to a list of their friends unless they make a monetary payment.

The scam is being reported with “increasing frequency” in Toronto, according to police.

“The Toronto Police Service urges internet users to employ the privacy filters offered by social media
providers to protect their personal information,” the public safety alert states. “Everyone is reminded that, whether in social interaction, or commercial buy/sell transactions, they should always verify the identity of an internet contact in person before deciding to trust that person.”

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#CyberFLASH: McAfee’s twelve scams of the holidays

12Scams_PR_FINAL_Orig3-620x250With electronic and online shopping predicted to be at an all-time high this holiday season, Canadian consumers should be extra weary of cyber-attacks, according to Brenda Moretto, Canadian consumer manager at McAfee, now part of Intel Security.

Citing figures that place Canada’s web hosts at the number three spot in harbouring phishing domains, Moretto said that Canadians are “no less vulnerable” to threats such as cyber scams and malware.

In response, the security software company outlined the “12 Scams of the Holidays” that Canadians should be aware of:

  1. Phishing scams through email top the list with emails disguised as shipping notifications and invoices to fit the season. According to Moretto, hackers are trying to capitalize on the increased flow of money to score banking information and other personal details. Consumers are also more likely to click on fraudulent links during periods of high shopping activity.
  2. Fraudulent deals can also make an appearance online or in your inbox, offering unbeatable prices at the cost of your (information). These extend beyond dangerous links to “phony contests on social media and bogus gift cards,” according to an official McAfee statement.

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#CyberFLASH: Mock email scam at Justice Canada snares hundreds of bureaucrats

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OTTAWA—Many of the Justice Department’s finest legal minds are falling prey to a garden-variety Internet scam.

An internal survey shows almost 2,000 staff were conned into clicking on a phoney “phishing” link in their email, raising questions about the security of sensitive information.

The department launched the mock scam in December as a security exercise, sending emails to 5,000 employees to test their ability to recognize cyber fraud.

The emails looked like genuine communications from government or financial institutions, and contained a link to a fake website that was also made to look like the real thing.

The Justice Department’s mock exercise caught 1,850 people clicking on the phoney embedded links, or 37 per cent of everyone who received the emails.

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CyberFLASH: Phishing scam emails, texts on the rise, surveys show

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Digitally connected young Canadians have become regular targets of phishing scams — fraudsters trying to steal personal information for financial gain, according to a new survey by Visa Canada.

The survey found that 92 per cent of respondents under age 35 confirmed they had been targeted by phishing scams for information such as bank accounts, passwords, card numbers and social insurance numbers.

“They’re online, they’re on their (mobile) phones, they’re very well connected for the most part,” Gord Jamieson, head of risk services at Visa Canada, said of that demographic.

Conversely, scammers usually target seniors with a phone call at home, Jamieson said from Toronto.

Overall, 84 per cent of the Canadians surveyed said they frequently received phishing scams and two-thirds said they would report them if they knew how.

The survey was released Monday in advance of fraud prevention month in March.

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Use Bluetooth? Protect Yourself from Hacking Scams

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Cell phone users are increasingly turning to Bluetooth technology to talk – hands free – on their phones. But as this high tech tool gains popularity in the US and Canada, scammers are finding ways to exploit it.

How the Scam Works:   

Scammers use specialized software to intercept your Bluetooth signal and hack into your device. It’s called “bluebugging.”  Doing this gives them access to all your texts, contacts, photos, call history… everything on your phone.

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