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Scam Alert #1 — 800# scammers & evil apps

 

Here’s a look at some of the online scams going around that could affect you.

Watch our report here:

 

 

 

Watch out for tech support scammers who try to automatically dial their 800-number for you, so you’ll fall into their trap.

Microsoft reports that those same kinds of crooks who try to tell you that your computer has a virus have set up a scheme where their number pops on your phone or computer screen, ready to click.

You still have to hit “call” or “okay,” but it’s all too easy for scammers who want you to pay them for fake computer help.

Microsoft says, in general, if a site automatically launches your calling app, it’s probably malicious.

You really don’t want to call a tech support scammer, on purpose or by mistake. Unless you’re a robot with plenty of time on your hands.

 

Example of a tech support scammer pre-loading their phone number into a phone to make it easier for you to call them. Image credit: Microsoft

 

Also, the fake flashlight apps came back to Google Play, the app store for Android phones and operating systems.

This time, several security researchers are reporting that the poisoned apps check your phone for banking apps like U.S. Bank, Chase and Wells Fargo, among others.

Security company Avast posted a video showing how the fake banking screen pops over your real screen, so you accidentally give your banking info to the bad guys. 

In some cases, the flashlight apps actually served as a flashlight, too.

Avast also says solitaire games and a phone cleaner app had the same malware.

 

Three flashlight apps that attacked phones with malware, according to security researchers. Image credit: Avast

 

Google Play has reportedly removed those apps, but others may pop up in the future.

How do you protect yourself? 

Security company ESET and others say one way is to check the app reviews to make sure it has many users and many good reviews.

Also, if you do install an app, watch out for this:

 

—Most malware asks if it can be “device administrator” for your phone. Don’t do it.

—Or it could ask for “accessibility service permission.” Also say no.

—If the icon disappears from your app drawer after you re-start the app, that’s another sign that you’ll need to back up your data and do a factory re-set.

 

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