Protect your family members from online fraud

My dad has a Ph.D. in zoology. He worked as a computer programmer for decades. He can identify a bird species from a flicker of a tail feather while we’re driving 70mph down a highway.

He’s brilliant. And yet… he almost fell for an online scam.

One day we were chatting, and he said, “Well, I have to go. I got an email to go pick up a package at the post office.”

“Wait, Papa. Why would the post office have your email?”

Turns out Papa had received an email from a scammer with a common hoax. The email states that you missed a delivery, and asks you to print a form to go pick your package up from UPS, FedEx or the post office. The link to the form has malicious software. Click on the link, and BOOM… your computer is infected.

If My Brilliant Dad Could Fall for a Scam, Your Parents Could, Too

Most of my readers are business folks, and we’re being constantly reminded of the scams that appear in our inbox and reach us over the phone. We know what to look for. If some of your family members are out of the workforce, they may also be out of the loop on best practices for staying safe in a world full of bad guys.

Why Talk to Your Family Members Today?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the epidemic of robocalls.

This week research team from vpnMentor found a massive database of 80 million records with personal information unprotected in the cloud. The info covers more than 65% of U.S. households. They think the names are from an insurance or mortgage company, though the owner hasn’t been identified. All of the records were for people over the age of 40.

That’s many of you. That’s me. And that’s our parents.

Now, we’re not sure if any bad guys had previously discovered this unprotected database, but the dangers are there. When scammers get ahold of databases like this with names, addresses, family members, phone numbers and other personal information, they can use the bits of info to trick people into handing over more.

How to Talk to Your Family Members

The AARP has some good tips for discussing the dangers of cybercrime with your loved ones, but I wanted to create a quick guide you could print out for them. So, thanks to my favorite infographic creator site Easel.ly, I put one together. Share away!

Your Nerdy BFF's Guide to Scammers and Cybercrime
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