Spot and avoid the latest online scams

Netflix users are receiving bogus e-mails telling them their account has been suspended and instructing them to call a toll-free number to regain access. The fake Netflix/Microsoft support person tricks them into giving the criminal access to their computer, as Techlicious's Fox Van Allen explains.

Not only is their personal information stolen, the victims are blackmailed into paying the crooks $400 to "fix" the problem.

Here's the real solution: Don't ever click a link in an e-mail message. Instead, open your browser and enter the URL in the address field manually. You just can'… Read more

Black market lights up with 360M stolen credentials -- report

The cyber black market is busting at the seams with stolen credentials, according to a new report.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview on Wednesday, Alex Holden, chief information security officer at Hold Security, said that over a period of just three weeks his company was able to identify 360 million different account credentials that were available for sale on Web-based black market services. The credentials include user names -- which are often e-mail addresses -- and passwords that in "most cases" are in unencrypted text, according to the report.

Holden told Reuters that his company is working … Read more

The 404 1,420: Where we ring and run (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Discussing five movies about relationships per month could cut the three-year divorce rate in half.

- Beware the one-ring phone sex scam.

- Tech is cruelly ripping teens from their natural shopping mall habitats.

- Facebook celebrates 10 years with Look Back.

- Today's show and tell features this collectible Batman figure from Side Show Toy!… Read more

People buy iPads, get floor tiles

It will end the day people stop begin gullible. And greedy, of course.

Bargains on electronics are constantly being offered in the streets and parking lots of the world. These rarely turn out to be bargains at all.

The latest involves boxes that appear to include nicely packed iPads. These turn out to include nicely packed floor tiles.

I am grateful to the San Francisco Chronicle for sending me to the Ceres Police Department's own Web site, where I find tales of misappropriated tiles.

In this case, the innocent were inveigled on the streets of Ceres and offered what … Read more

Woman scammed out of $500K on Christian dating site

You can't look them in the eyes.

That's the difference between meeting someone online and meeting them in real life.

One California woman might be wishing that she had looked her online date in the eyes, before she parted with $500,000.

As CBS San Francisco reports, the 66-year-old woman met a man on

She thought he was an Irishman working on a Scottish oil rig. He turned out to be a Nigerian man who had only one thing on his mind. Sadly, that one thing was money.

Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourland said that the … Read more

Torrent scam hits thousands eager for PC version of GTA V

Rockstar hasn't yet announced a PC version of the overwhelmingly popular Grand Theft Auto V, and fans are desperate for it. A massive number of people -- over 614,000 -- have signed a petition to port the game, which smashed through seven world records in its opening weekend, to PC. Industry sources have hinted at a PC version coming in early 2014.

But when you want what you want when you want it, sometimes common sense flies right out the window. Thousands of hopeful PC gamers have downloaded a legitimate-seeming torrent file claiming to be GTA … Read more

How to spot and avoid Facebook 'Like' scams

Facebook "likes" mean money. Individuals and businesses of all types -- legitimate and otherwise -- use various techniques to persuade you to click that ubiquitous thumbs-up button.

Begging for Facebook "likes" has become epidemic. "If I get a million likes I'll be cured of my terminal disease and I'll be able to implement my sure-fire plan for world peace!"

"If you don't like this picture you hate your mother, America, and apple pie."

Yeah, right.

Scammers prey on Facebook users' propensity to respond emotionally by clicking "Like" … Read more

Financier pleads guilty to $13M Facebook IPO stock scam

A former Oregon gubernatorial candidate has pleaded guilty in a $13 million securities scam to sell pre-IPO shares of Facebook before the social network went public.

Craig Berkman, a Florida financier who ran for governor in 1994, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to one count each of securities fraud and wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Berkman, 71, bilked more than 120 investors out of $13.2 million with promises of an early shot at the highly coveted shares. He also admitted falsely telling investors … Read more

Man buys iPad for $390, gets box of potatoes

If a man in the street offers to sell you a Rolex, it is likely a worthless piece of metal.

Similarly, if a man in the street offers to sell you an iPad, it is unlikely to be anything other than a piece of wood or a box of apples.

Or, in this case, potatoes. … Read more

Fake Google Play apps scam Japanese porn seekers

Hundreds of Japanese porn apps in the Google Play marketplace are tricking porn seekers into shelling out $1,000 for a fake service, security firm Symantec has found.

The company published a blog post today about the more than 200 fraudulent Android apps published by over 50 developers. Symantec has been tracking these apps since late January.

"From then on, the apps were published by different developers each time and the number of apps steadily grew though many were removed from Google Play at one point for unconfirmed reasons," according to the blog. "We are now seeing … Read more