Earlier this month, Trend Micro found a Trojan linked to spoofed emails imitating fake bank notices, cable provider updates, Facebook notifications, Twitter messages and Walmart invoice emails. In another report, cyber criminals hacked the Wal-Mart and Sam’s club website putting customers at risk for identity theft. The worst thing you can do is to assume that just because you are doing business with a large well-known company that you are safe, because you may be surprised to find out you’re not.
Are you really safe?
Cyber criminals are betting on your trust, which is why they spoof your favorite stores. Not only do cyber criminals imitate popular brands like Starbucks, but they are continually attempting to breach the internal data of major organizations in hopes of obtaining the personal information of thousands of people at a time.
According to an earlier report from WREG Memphis Channel 3 in April of this year, a security breach in which the well-known giant Walmart was hacked resulted in one woman losing over three thousand dollars. When she tried to cancel the unauthorized orders, Walmart did little to restore her money. Unfortunately this incident has left many questioning whether their identity is truly safe.
Cyber criminals send a fake Walmart invoice notification thanking the consumer for their order. This email goes on to state the payment options available to complete the order and makes mention of an incomplete purchase. If you receive an email that appears suspicious, please forward the entire email to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to hacking, cyber criminals are getting more sophisticated; because according to Trend Micro, hackers who devised the spoofed Walmart email had the ability to mimic the URL of a legitimate website. Trend Micro says that cyber criminals used Punycode to spam domain names which gave victims a false sense of security. To protect yourself from this and other online threats and to learn more about Trend Micro’s Smart Protection Network visit http://cloudsecurity.trendmicro.com/us/technology-innovation/our-technology/smart-protection-network/index.html
Be safe online
Identity theft safety requires you to know how to avoid online scams. To help keep you safe from identity theft online, try using the following tips:
- Ignore questionable emails because most stores like Best Buy will not send an email thanking you for your order unless you already paid for it.
- Never click on an email sent to you, nor follow its links because scammers send spoofed emails as a trap to steal your identity.
- If you are trying to place an order online, go directly to the website and make sure you see https which indicates that your connection is secure. Pay pal is an example of a secure way to send money or pay for goods online, because you only deal with PayPal and not a third party website.
- Trend Micro warns users that if you do click on an email and are redirected to several different sites, this is a sign you are headed for malware even if the site’s URL appears to be real.
Identity theft is an ongoing threat that requires your continual attention, so be sure to report any suspicious activities that you may see both off and online. If you are a resident of Santa Ana and you witness strange activity around your local Santa Ana business feel free to contact the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-647-5400
If you feel that you have been the victim of identity theft and you live in Santa Ana or anywhere else, for resources and links on your next steps visit, the FTC at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/repairing-identity-theft
As always thank you for your visit today because it is appreciated. If you have a personal experience or comment you would like to make please do so below and don’t forget to subscribe for the latest updates on identity theft.
Chen, N. (2013, April 26). Little help after Walmart account hacked WREG Memphis News channel 3. Retrieved from http://wreg.com/2013/04/26/little-help-after-walmart-account-hacked/
Nispersos, E. (2013, May 20). Blackhole spam run evades detection using Punycode Trendlabs Security Intelligence Blogs. Retrieved from http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlabs-security-intelligence/blackhole-spam-run-evades-detection-using-punycode/