Tag Archives: Internet

Android phones face growing malware threat


android logoAnytime I warn people about an email phishing scam containing a dangerous link, I envision a laptop or desktop computer, but guess what? We’re all walking around with little computers in our pockets and they are not immune to viruses and other malware.

I just came across a few articles talking about the growing thread of malware on Android phones. There are now a million malware theats out there that can impact your Android phone.

For example, there are emails going around designed to distribute “scareware”–software that tricks you into paying for other nonexistent threats. It can also intercept phone calls and messages. You get the scareware by following dangerous links that take you to infected websites.

You can also get Android malware by installing certain apps. Google purged some apps from its system after finding out they contained malware.

I just decided it was time to install some antivirus software on my phone. There are a number of free ones on the Google Play store that have good reviews, and some you can pay for. I chose the free version of Bitdefender. We’ll see how that goes.

This article contains some good advice to help keep your Android device safe.

In a nutshell:

  • Avoid suspicious websites–and especially don’t download anything from those sites.
  • Avoid third party app stores. Stick with the Google Play store as a source of new apps.
  • Pay attention to the app you intend to download, even from the Google Play store. Does it have good reviews? Does it only ask for necessary permissions? For example, a game shouldn’t need permission to send text messages.
  • Upgrade to the latest version of Android. Upgrades always include new protections. A recent update includes warnings if malware attempts to send a text message giving “permission” to some crooks for some premium service you didn’t order that will cost you money.
  • Install antivirus software.

– This post is by Stephanie Jacksis, @ WatchYourBuck

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Scammer wants to be in your driver’s seat with Google Wallet


Looking for a car online? Beware of con artists who want to take you for a ride. Bogus vehicle sales have gone around for a while, using online classified ads to bait people with “too good to be true” prices only to steal their money. Another twist on that scam uses a false affiliation with Google to con people.

The scammers mislead people into believing their transaction is being conducted through Google Wallet – while payment is actually made by wire transfer, untraceable and gone forever.

The seller may post an unrealistically low price and claim he needs to sell the car quickly because of an upcoming move, a divorce, a call to serve in the military, etc.

The seller will send an invoice that appears to be from Google Wallet, but will instruct you to make a wire payment, through Western Union, Moneygram or bank transfer. They may also have a phone number for a fake Google employee that you can call to “verify” that the transaction is legitimate.

A real Google Wallet transaction will need you to sign into your Google account and use the Google Wallet interface to pay. Google Wallet doesn’t accept wire transfers/bank transfers or payments via Western Union/Money Gram.

Some scammers may also use Google Wallet’s previous name Google Checkout.

Below is an excerpt from a typical Google Wallet scam email.

Google Wallet Scam

BBB offers the following tips for online car shopping:

  • Check the vehicle’s price. Before buying a car, check out a similar make and model’s price on other websites. If the price is way below market value, it’s probably a scam.
  • Communicate with the seller. If a seller refuses to meet in person, this is a bad sign. Sellers should also allow the buyer to inspect the vehicle before making payment.
  • Be careful with the transaction. Be cautious of transactions in which the seller and the vehicle are in different locations. The seller may claim they are not able to take the car along because of military deployment, moving because of family circumstances, or job relocation. Scammers also try to push for quick payments via wire payment systems, so never send money using this payment method.
  • Check the vehicle identification number. When you check out the car, make sure the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) matches with the number on the paperwork. The VIN can be found on the car’s dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Make sure the VIN number on the card matches the number on the insurance card, insurance policy and vehicle title and registration.

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