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Personal loan scams take advantage of people’s financial vulnerabilities and can trap people in a vicious cycle of debt.

Since the pandemic, people in many parts of the world have had a difficult time financially. Climate crises, increases in food and energy prices, and ongoing inflation have made household spending difficult.

It has put great pressure on employees and families. High interest rates, including in Europe, made matters worse. As always, cybercriminals are lying in wait to see how they can take advantage of others’ misfortune.

Credit fraud can take various forms. It uses the lure of free loans to deceive vulnerable internet users. It may be common at certain times of the year. Those particularly at risk are young people, the elderly, low-income households, and individuals with low credit scores.

Fraudsters know that these groups are among the worst affected by the current cost of living crisis and are developing various strategies to trick users into handing over their money.

  credit fraud

Top 7 credit fraud threats

Loan fee (advance fee) fraud. The most common type of credit fraud, where a fraudster usually pretends to be a legitimate lender. They claim to offer a no-strings-attached loan but require you to pay a small fee up front to access the cash. The scammers then disappear with your money.

Student loan fraud. It targets those seeking financing for their education and recent graduates who are burdened with tuition fees and other educational expenses. They may offer attractive loan terms, debt forgiveness, fake help with loan repayment, fake promises to reduce monthly payments, consolidate multiple student loans into a more manageable package, negotiate with lenders on behalf of borrowers.

Credit “phishing” scam. Some scams may involve the scammer asking you to fill out an online form so the loan can be ‘processed’. Doing so will give your personal and financial information directly to the bad guys to be used in more serious identity fraud. This can run alongside advance fee fraud and result in the loss of both money and sensitive personal and bank account information.

  credit fraud

Malicious credit practices. It reported 20 of these fraudulent apps to Google, which had more than 9 million cumulative downloads on the official Play Store at the beginning of 2022. Detections of “SpyLoan” apps increased by 90% between the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. It found 18 more malicious apps with 12 million downloads in 2023. SpyLoan applications, SMS It lures victims with the promise of easy loans through messages and social media sites such as X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and YouTube.

They often impersonate the brands of legitimate credit and financial services companies to add legitimacy to the scam. If you download one of these apps, you will be asked to confirm your phone number and then provide extensive personal information.

This information may include your address, bank account information, and photos of your ID cards, as well as a selfie, all of which can be used for identity fraud. Even if you don’t apply for a loan, app developers may start harassing you and blackmailing you into giving money, or even threaten you with physical harm.

Payday loan scam. These scammers target individuals in need of quick cash, often with poor credit or financial difficulties. As with other types, they exploit the urgency of the borrower’s financial situation, promising quick and easy loan approval without a credit check with minimal documentation. To apply for credit, the scammer often asks the borrower to provide sensitive personal and financial information, such as social security number, bank account information and passwords, and uses them for identity theft and financial fraud.

Loan repayment fraud. Some scams require prior discovery by criminals. They target victims who have already received loans. They impersonate the loan company in question and send you a letter or email, claiming that you missed the payment deadline and demanding payment plus a penalty fee.

Identity fraud. A slightly different approach is to steal your personal and financial information. The purpose is to then use them to obtain a loan on your behalf from a third-party provider. The scammer will max out the credit and then disappear, leaving you to pick up the pieces.

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Security

YouTube Channels Scams and Malware

YouTube, one of today’s most popular social media platforms, is a target for cybercriminals who use it to commit fraud and distribute malware.

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YouTube, one of today’s most popular social media platforms, is a target for cybercriminals who use it to commit fraud and distribute malware.

The traps cybercriminals create on YouTube are diverse, but often include videos masquerading as tutorials on popular software or ads for crypto giveaways. Scammers place links to malicious websites in video descriptions or comments, disguising them as genuine sources of the video’s content.

Playing popular YouTube channels improves the game even more. By expanding the reach of their scam campaigns to countless regular YouTube users, they are giving attackers the most bang for their buck. Cybercriminals have long been known to reuse these channels to spread crypto and other scams and various information-stealing malware, often through links to pirated and malware-laden software, movies, and game cheats.

Meanwhile, YouTubers whose accounts have been stolen are going through an extremely harrowing experience, with consequences ranging from loss of income to permanent reputational damage.

YouTube

How can cybercriminals take over YouTube channels?

Most often, it all starts with a good phishing. Attackers create fake websites and YouTube or they try to trick targets into handing over the “keys to the kingdom” by sending emails that appear to be from Google.

In many cases, they also make sponsorship or collaboration agreements attractive. The message includes an attachment or a link to a file that is said to detail the terms and conditions. However, the threat becomes even more severe when accounts are not protected by two-factor authentication (2FA) or attackers bypass this extra protection.

In another tried and tested technique, attackers leverage lists of usernames and passwords obtained from past data breaches to break into existing accounts, relying on the fact that many people reuse passwords across different sites.

In brute-force attempts, attackers use automated tools to try many password combinations until they find the correct password. This method works especially well if people use weak or common passwords and don’t use 2FA.

YouTube

How to stay out of danger on YouTube

Security experts shared tips to stay away from possible dangers. These tips will be useful for you to stay safe on the platform even if you are a YouTuber yourself.

Use strong and unique login credentials. Create strong passwords and avoid reusing them across multiple sites. Explore passkeys as another form of authentication offered by Google.

Use a strong 2FA. For an added layer of security, use 2FA not just on your Google account but on all your other accounts as well. Wherever possible, choose 2FA with authentication apps or hardware security keys over SMS-based methods.

Be careful with emails and links. Be skeptical of emails or messages claiming to be from YouTube or Google, especially if they ask for personal information or account credentials. Check the sender’s email address and look for signs of phishing. Likewise, avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. This method also applies to apps or other software promoted on YouTube, unless they come from reliable and verified sources.

Keep your operating system and other software updated. To protect against known vulnerabilities, make sure your operating system, browser, and other software are up to date.

Track your account movements. Check your account activity regularly for suspicious actions or login attempts.

Educate yourself. Stay informed about the latest cyber threats and scams targeting you online, including on YouTube. Knowing what to look out for can help you avoid becoming a victim of these threats.

Report and block suspicious content. Report suspicious or harmful content, comments, links or users to the platform. Blocking such users may prevent them from further contact with you or other people.

Secure your devices. Use multi-layered security software on your devices to protect against a variety of threats.

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Security

CYBER ATTACK ONE IN FOUR INTERNET USERS

The 2024 Consumer Cyber ​​Security Assessment Report published by Bitdefender revealed that 24.3% of internet users experienced at least one cyber attack in the past year, and 37.1% thought they were not the target of attacks.

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The 2024 Consumer Cyber ​​Security Assessment Report published by Bitdefender revealed that 24.3% of internet users experienced at least one cyber attack in the past year, and 37.1% thought they were not the target of attacks.

The existence of cyber attackers is one of the biggest threats faced in the digital world, where all users’ information is contained. A single wrong step in the online world can bring various risks.

bitdefender The 2024 Consumer Cyber ​​Security Assessment Report published by , revealed the tendencies of internet users about cyber attacks. According to the report, 75.7% of users either do not believe that they are the target of cyber attackers. While 24.3% of users consider themselves worthy of attracting the attention of hackers, 37.1% believe that hackers do not target them.

CYBER ATTACK

Most cyber attacks occur randomly. Therefore, even if the user is not the primary target, he or she may fall into the trap of an attacker who wants to collect arbitrary data. So, what are the 4 most common manipulation methods used by cyber attackers?

The 4 Most Common Manipulation Methods

  1. Crypto Recovery Scam: In its report on the crypto market, the FBI published an announcement about a method known as recovery fraud. In its first warning last year, the agency drew attention to the increase in cryptocurrency recovery schemes targeting victims who lost cryptocurrency due to fraud or theft. Now, the bureau has uncovered a new criminal tactic used to further defraud victims of cryptocurrency scams. Accordingly, the attackers defraud the users again by contacting the people whose crypto accounts were stolen as a law firm and saying that they can return the stolen account for a fee.
  1. Impersonation of Government Institutions: Impersonation of government institutions, one of the most common methods, is an old method, but it still traps users. To achieve this, attackers usually reach their victims through phishing e-mails, fake websites or phone calls, and manipulate people to obtain personal and financial information.
  1. Scams Targeting the Elderly: Attackers generally take advantage of the low digital literacy levels of the elderly and manipulate people by instilling a sense of trust. Attackers who pose as representatives of an official institution, bankers or technical support personnel use methods such as fake phone calls, e-mails or social media messages to obtain personal information.
  1. Fake Job Offers: This type of attack, which targets citizens with fake job offers, poses a great threat to citizens because it looks attractive and realistic. Scammers who post fake ads directly via e-mail or on employment platforms often ask people to make a down payment, share personal information or participate in fake training programs. In this process, bank account information, identification numbers or other sensitive data are captured. It is important for job seekers to carefully review job offers, verify companies’ official websites and contact information, and be especially wary of requests for down payment or personal information.
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Security

Google’s premium Dark Web Monitoring feature is available to all users

In a move that prioritizes data security over virtual private network (VPN) access, Google is expanding its Dark Web Monitoring service.

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In a move that prioritizes data security over virtual private network (VPN) access, Google is expanding its Dark Web Monitoring service.

The Dark Web Monitoring feature, which was previously only available to paying Google One subscribers, will be integrated into all Google Accounts by the end of July 2024. This announcement comes shortly after Google phased out the VPN service in the Google One app.

What is Dark Web Monitoring?

Dark Web refers to encrypted online networks that are difficult to access with traditional search engines. These networks are sometimes used for illegal activities and may also contain personal information leaked from data breaches. Dark Web Monitoring scans these hidden corners of the internet for personal information such as your name, address, email address and phone number. If a match is found, Google will notify you and prompt you to change passwords or stolen credit. your cards It recommends steps you should take, such as reporting.

Dark Web Monitoring

Previously a Paid Feature, Now Available for Everyone

Previously, Dark Web Monitoring was only accessible to users with a Google One subscription. This paid service offered additional features such as increased cloud storage and family sharing. Now, the basic dark web monitoring functionality will be available for free to all Google Account holders. Users will be able to see the change in the “Results about you” tab in the Google One application starting from July 2024. “Results about you” allows you to identify your personal information from public search results and request its removal. Dark Web Monitoring complements this by scanning the dark corners of the internet for leaks that may not be easily detected.

Enhanced User Privacy in the Age of Data Breaches

The increased focus on Dark Web Monitoring reflects the growing concern around data breaches. With online services and products regularly falling victim to cyber attacks, having a way to track your personal information can be a valuable security measure. By offering this feature for free, Google is taking an important step towards helping users protect themselves in the digital age.

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