Watch out for this vacation scam circulating on email.
Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Monday June 24th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for ITWorldCanda.com.
I’m taking a few days off but I still have some security and privacy tips for you. To hear the podcast, click on the arrow below:
Summer is a time for vacation fun, but it’s also a time criminals try to have online fun, too. The Canadian Bankers Association passes on this tip:
It’s not uncommon for the email of someone you know to be hacked and used for a vacation-related scam. A tale of woe then gets copied to everyone on a contact list that goes something like this: “This vacation has turned into a nightmare. Right now I’m stuck at the Canadian embassy in such and such a country because my passport and wallet have been stolen. I’ve sorted out my passport with the embassy but I just want to be on the next flight out of here. I need to settle up with the hotel and get a new plane ticket, but I can’t access my bank from here for a couple days. Could you send me some quick funds, and as soon as I return I’ll pay you back.” And because it’s the name of someone you know, you think it’s legit.
If you get a message like that, confirm by phone with relatives or friends the person really is away. Don’t wire money to someone under uncertain conditions or under pressure. After the funds have been wired it is almost impossible to recover or trace the money. And if you think your friend or family member’s email has been hacked, let them know so that they can inform their contacts and warn them not to send money.
This scam, of course, can work the other way: Your email is hacked and the plea for help goes out to your friends.
That’s why it’s important everyone has a unique password for their email accounts, and, if you can, enable two-factor authentication. Check your email service to see if it offers two-factor authentication.
Finally, when you’re traveling and have to use email, use your cellular service and not hotel, restaurant or store Wi-Fi for email or banking. It isn’t as safe as your carrier. It may cost you in data, but you’re better protected. If you have to use Wi-Fi, make sure you log off when finished.
That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at ITWorldCanada.com. That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening. I’m Howard Solomon