Three Clever Ways Cyber Criminals Hack Your Personal Data

Cybercriminals constantly search for new ways to hack into your computer, steal your money and data.

It’s bad enough there are phishing schemes sent via email. Posers pretend to be family or friends who supposedly need money urgently but can’t talk by phone. “Please reply to this email,” they say. We have to be on guard for criminals who data mine our social media to determine passwords and answers to security questions.

Here are three recent data stealing techniques to guard against:

A Malicious QR Code

Criminals use fake QR codes to send people to malicious sites according to the FBI. QR stands for “quick response” and you may have used one in a restaurant during the pandemic. Customers line up the QR Code in the focus of their phone camera and a corresponding menu/website pops up.

Criminals plant fraudulent QR codes with bad intent. The fake QR code may take you to a malicious website and/or download a file in order to steal your data. The QR code could even change a payment, so they receive it instead of your vendor.

QR Code safety tips:

  1. Prevent QR Code fraud.
  2. Don’t use QR codes from sources that are not trusted and are unknown to you.
  3. Review the QR code closely for evidence of tampering. Is there a sticker on top of a sticker? Does something look off to you? Inspect any QR codes prior to use to make sure they haven’t been altered.
  4. Pay your bills through your secure connection with your bank instead of via a QR Code.
  5. Do not download an app from a QR Code.
  6. When you use a QR Code, check the URL address of the site where you are directed. Double check that it is legitimate. Better yet, go directly to that site in a new window and close the QR Code generated window.

The Infected USB Device

Cybercriminals attempt to gain control of consumers’ computers via a USB device scam. A USB device, often called a thumb drive, is a small external storage tool where files including documents, and pictures can be stored. In our home, we have a few USB devices storing favorite family photos.

An infected device can compromise your computer. Scammers send them in the mail disguised as a present from a commonly used vendor…