Mental Floss: 7 Internet Scams Even the Smartest People Fall For. “Not so long ago, you were considered a savvy internet user if you ignored unsolicited emails from princes in faraway lands. Now the distinction between what’s a scam and what’s a legitimate online business is not so cut and dry. From phishing schemes disguised to lure you into a fraudulent website with innocent-looking bait to malware hidden in Wi-Fi hotspots, here are seven internet scams that even the smartest people fall for.” Good overview.
Salt Lake Tribune: Authorities warn virtual kidnapping scams are on the rise. “On Tuesday, police and federal agents warned that so-called virtual kidnappings are on the rise, and dozens of people already have found themselves terrorized into giving money to con artists.”
Philadelphia Inquirer: Desperate for help, heroin addicts get ‘hijacked’ to Florida. “Targeting vulnerable drug addicts and their families, deceptive marketers have been ‘hijacking’ the phone numbers of drug treatment centers in the Philadelphia area and elsewhere, then rerouting them to Florida treatment centers. The ploy takes advantage of a Google feature that allows people to edit a business’ phone number on the search engine.”
International Business Times: Facebook Is Testing New Tool To Protect Users’ Profile Pictures. “Facebook has announced that it is currently testing a new tool that will protect users’ profile pictures. Called Profile Picture Guard, it prevents others from copying or saving a user’s profile picture.”
Bleeping Computer: Ads in Google Search Results Redirect Users to Tech Support Scam. “The malicious ad used a feature of the Google Ads service that allows ad publishers to display a URL but redirect users to another link. For example, in the rogue ad, the displayed link was “target.com,” but users were redirected to ‘tech-supportcenter.us.’ Surprisingly, this got past Google’s ad quality control service.” Considering that three years ago I had an AdWords ad flagged as a cigarette ad because it had the word “Winston” in it (Hey Google, WINSTON-SALEM IS A CITY) I’m pretty surprised too.
FTC: FTC and Federal, State and International Partners Announce Major Crackdown on Tech Support Scams. “The Federal Trade Commission, along with federal, state and international law enforcement partners, today announced ‘Operation Tech Trap,’ a nationwide and international crackdown on tech support scams that trick consumers into believing their computers are infected with viruses and malware, and then charge them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs. As part of this coordinated effort, the FTC and its partners are announcing 16 new actions, including complaints, settlements, indictments, and guilty pleas, against deceptive tech support operations. This brings to 29 the number of law enforcement actions brought by Operation Tech Trap partners in the last year to stop tech support scams.”
TechCrunch: Facebook downranks News Feed links to crappy sites smothered in ads. “Facebook will bury links to low-quality websites and refuse to carry ads pointing to them in a News Feed algorithm change announced today. Facebook defines a ‘low-quality site’ as one ‘containing little substantive content, and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads.’ This includes hosting pop-up and interstitial ads, adult ads or eye-catching but disgusting ads for products that fight fat or foot fungus.”