Online Warnings

Mobile phones and other online activities can be gateways for scammers. Here are some ways to protect yourself from being a victim:

Keylogging or Keystroke Logging

Keylogging is a method by which fraudsters record your actual keystrokes and mouse clicks. Keyloggers are “Trojan” software programs that target your computer’s operating system (Windows, Mac OS, etc.) and are “installed” via a virus. These can be particularly dangerous because the fraudster has captured your user ID and password, account number, Social Security Number – and anything else you have typed. If you are like most other users and have the same ID and PIN/Password for many different online accounts, you’ve essentially granted the fraudster access to any company with whom you conduct business. After all, they’ve got your login credentials so they appear to be a valid user.

Here are some ways you can prevent yourself from being a victim of keystroke logging:

  • Use Anti-Virus Software – This is the single most important thing you can do to protect your computer from viruses. There are many on the market today – some cost money while others are free. If you opt to use a free version, make sure it is being offered by a reputable company and do research on the company and its product before installing.
  • Keep your Operating System up-to-date with the latest security patches.

Phishing Scams

Phishing is a scam where Internet fraudsters request personal information from users online. These requests are most commonly in the form of an email from an organization with which you may or may not do business. In many cases, the email has been made to look exactly like a legitimate organization’s email would appear complete with company logos and other convincing information. The email usually states that the company needs you to update your personal information or that your account is about to become inactive, all in an effort to get you to click the link to a site that only looks like the real thing. If you click on the link to go to the phony website and enter all of your information, you’ve just been the victim of a phishing attack. The fraudsters have just captured all the necessary information to access your accounts online. No reputable business will ever email you requesting that you update your personal information, including account numbers, system passwords or Social Security Numbers via a link to their site.
Follow these guidelines to protect yourself from phishing scams:

  • Never click on a link from a business requesting that you provide them with personal information.
  • Pay close attention to the URL (Internet address) behind the link. Often in phishing attempts, if you hover the cursor over the link the fraudsters want you to click on, it has nothing to do with the actual company they claim to be.
  • Report any phishing attempts to Evolve at 1-866-395-2754 or
  • If you are unsure that the request is valid, open a new Internet session and manually key in the business’ web address. If the business genuinely needs information from you, they will have you log in to your online account to see the request. In most cases, you’ll just be greeted with a message indicating that the business will never email you requesting personal information
  • Personalized Phishing Attacks: How to Avoid Them

Protecting Your Smart Phone

More and more people are using smartphones and apps to conduct business online – business that often requires the use of sensitive information such as bank account numbers, credit card data, or passwords.

While your smartphone can make life easier, be aware of potential threats to the security and the precautions you can take to keep it secure.

Areas, where smartphone users can potentially fall victim to fraudulent activity, are lost phones and open Wi-Fi network surfing. Be mindful as you use your smartphone as well as the related tips for preventing fraud.

Lost phones

Chances are you’ve probably misplaced your smartphone, at least temporarily, at least once. The danger with this if you’ve made purchases on your phone or, perhaps, conducted banking activities with it, someone who finds or steals your phone may be able to extract sensitive personal information from it.  Use these tips to safeguard your phone in the event of a loss:

  • Keep your smartphone’s operating software up-to-date by enabling automatic updates from your service provider. You may also want to install trustworthy security apps that allow you to remotely locate and erase all of the data stored on your phone.
  • Set PINs and passwords on the phone’s homescreen to prevent unauthorized access to your phone. Utilize the auto lock feature for idle time (suggested after 5 minutes or less of being idle).
  • Don’t modify your smartphone’s security settings.
  • Always report a stolen phone. Wireless providers in conjunction with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) have established a stolen phone database that will help your provider prevent your phone from being activated without your permission.

Open Wi-Fi networks

Cybercriminals often use unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots to target people online.

  • Ignore pop-ups or prompts to download software. They are often a hacker’s attempt to infect your phone with malware or spyware.
  • Avoid public hotspots and instead, use protected Wi-Fi from sources you trust or your own mobile wireless connection.
  • Update your smartphone’s security software before you travel. Wi-Fi in airports and hotels can be potentially troublesome if your smartphone is not fully protected with the latest security updates.

Social Media Fraud Schemes

Social media schemes (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) entice users into opening new accounts or using their existing accounts in exchange for merchandise or “fast cash.” The proposal is typically made via a post with pictures of cash or other items encouraging anyone interested to comment for more information. The accounts are ultimately used to conduct transactions involving the deposit of fraudulent checks and subsequent fraudulent card purchases/ATM withdrawals.

Consumers should be aware that participation in this type of scheme is illegal and that you may be held responsible for purchases or cash withdrawals made from the proceeds of a fraudulent check deposit. Such activity could result in account closure and possible criminal prosecution.

Read here how to keep your personal information safe on social media.


Unsolicited Offers

If you receive an unsolicited offer that promises you something in exchange for money or account information, you should not respond unless you are sure the offer is legitimate. Common scenarios include offers that require an upfront fee, requests to wire funds, a notice that you won a lottery/contest, or a person on a social website who asks for money (e.g., travel money to meet you, emergency cash, medical bills, etc.).  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.