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Scammers use sophisticated emails, texts to take your money

Posted at 7:16 AM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 08:17:38-04

TULSA, Okla. — A day in the park, for Fatih Akbash, and his little daughter Olivia, means a small picnic, with some sticky, mini donuts.

For Olivia, it's fun. For Fatih, it's a break from his summer classes, as he studies cyber security.

“It’s my passion.”

Fatih knows how easy it is for folks to fall victim to cybercrooks.

“It’s very easy if you’re a non-technical person.”

Most of us get bombarded every day, with fake emails and texts.

“It’s kind of a headache, but I think that I can handle it,” Fatih says.

But many others, who aren't trained in cyber security, not so much.

“I hear a lot of stories, a lot of people, they’re losing their money, or hackers stealing their information.”

Those fake emails and texts can certainly look legit and look really polished, but Fathi says he can tell it's a scam by looking at the sender’s email address.

This one says it’s McAfee, but the extension looks like gibberish, and from Gmail. Emails from legit companies will usually have their official name in the extension and the fakes aren’t just about skimming a few bucks from you, Fatih says.

“I think most of the time it’s about information, they want to have your information, this way they can basically own you.”

That’s right. Own you. Your money and your identity.

Here’s another example:

A text, which says it’s from Norton 360, entices you to respond by saying they’ve received your $350 payment.

They hope you contact them, of course, because you didn’t place an order or pay that much.

“Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of people’s fears about being overbilled.”

Kevin Roundy, with Norton Lifelock, says the cybercrooks are just fishing for your financial and personal information.

“Just be very skeptical, always, never contact them at the numbers that they’re sending.”

It shows just how bold scammers are. Going as far as using fake emails from major internet security companies designed to protect you from scams.

Take 2 emails supposedly from McAfee.

If you google the addresses on the bottom of each of the fake emails, one comes up as a Thai restaurant in Austin, Texas, and another shows an empty field in Casper, Wyoming.

So checking the physical address on suspicious emails can uncover obvious red flags, as well.

“The safest thing to do is just ignore it.”

And always be on guard, Fathi says, as he earns his master’s in cyber security.

“My passion is to protect people and institutions, from hacker attacks.”

Protect folks from a cyber crook’s sticky fingers, so scammers won’t walk away with your family’s hard-earned money.

Again, experts remind us not to click on any links or respond to phone numbers in suspicious emails and texts.

If you have questions, look up the company yourself instead, and contact them with the number listed on their official website.

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