Posted: Jan 31, 2013 2:22 PM by Julia Manning
Updated: Feb 4, 2013 9:18 PM
COLUMBIA - Scam artists are getting personal — using your social media profiles to get you to click. The Better Business Bureau says it's seeing a new trend in email scams. It says it's a phishing scam and it makes it more difficult to tell if your emails are really from people you know.
The BBB says the perpetrators behind this recent wave of scams are using social media sites to acquire personal data like the names of your friend and family members, to help them send you more personalized fraudulent messages.
MU junior Isabel Casal got one of these messages in late January.
"I mean it looked super real," Casal said. "I was skimming through my emails on my phone and when a message from my friend popped up I clicked the link in the message without thinking about it," Casal said.
The message wasn't actually from her friend - and that's exactly how the scam is supposed to work. The Better Business Bureau warned of this specific scam in its January 25 news release. It explained how scammers scan through information on popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find who you are connecting with. If you have this information private, some will even set up fake accounts and friend request you in an attempt to access your personal information.
The BBB said this new phishing technique is more successful than past scam messages because scammers tap into the notion that you may be less suspicious of emails sent from a friend or family member.
Casal said the scam was easy to fall for.
"I get so many emails throughout the day I don't have time to diligently look through each one," Casal said. "When it was from my good friend with a pretty uncommon name I didn't think twice about it."
Clicking the link didn't cause Casal serious damage to her phone but the BBB said falling for the scam on your computer can cause you to download dangerous malware and give scammers the opportunity to gather your personal data.
As scammers continue to get smarter and target individuals with more personal information, the BBB urges everyone to follow these tips:
MU Information Technology Spokesman Terry Robb said there has been a recent rise in phishing scams in general. He warned people to take a second look at emails that might look official.
"A lot of the time it looks official but it may not be," Robb said. "The bad guys are just taking HTML, the web language, and putting in an email with logos and other details to make it look real. Don't always trust those things especially if they are asking you for personal information."
Robb said taking the extra step in verifying an email contact is worth the time.
"You can always make a phone call or mail a letter to see if it's legitimate," Robb said. "But never give your private information out over email unless you have initiated the email with someone you know to be true."
Another similar scam sent out to people with University of Missouri email addresses include personal messages from what looks to be a legitimate person, soliciting part-time job positions such as personal aids, shipping assistants, or dog walkers. The University says these scammers are check scammers who will send you a check from fake bank account. Due to the delays in the check processing of banks the cashed checks usually take 5 to 10 days to bounce giving you a false sense of security. The scammer will ask for you to wire partial funds back to them before the check has had full time to be returned unpaid.
Robb said the System has a large spam filter that tries to catch all of the bad messages before they reach students but some like these, make it through the cracks.
If you do click on suspicious link, the BBB advises to run a virus scan on your computer.
Posted 8:16 PM 12/1/2015 by Andrea Gonzales, KOMU 8 Reporter
JEFFERSON CITY - State representatives and senators pre-filed bills Tuesday to review in the 2016 legislative session, which starts Jan. 6. Tuesday was the first day lawmakers could pre-file. The bills range from ethics reform in Missouri's general assembly and raising the minimum wage.(More)
Posted 6:45 PM 12/1/2015 by Megan Kelly, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA – A new bill proposed by one state lawmaker could help pay some of the adoption costs for parents.
December 1 is the first day state lawmakers can pre-file bills for the 2016 legislative session.
Bill sponsor and House Representative Rob Vescovo (R-Arnold) said (More)
Posted 6:25 PM 12/1/2015 by Jenna Middaugh, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
JEFFERSON CITY – State Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, pre-filed legislation Tuesday to increase the state minimum wage to $10.25 an hour.
“The single most important thing Missouri can do for low-income families is to boost the minimum wage,” Ellington said. (More)
Adv. - more news below
Posted 6:22 PM 12/1/2015 by Chris Gervino, KOMU 8 Sports Director
COLUMBIA - Sources tell KOMU that University of California Head Football Coach Sonny Dykes interviewed with Missouri Athletic Director Mack Rhoades in Denver today.
Dykes is 13-23 in three years as head coach at Cal, but has gone from one win to five wins to seven wins in those three (More)
Posted 6:15 PM 12/1/2015 by Micheala Sosby, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
JEFFERSON CITY - Columbia resident Malcolm Desean Redmon, 32, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday for his role in a Boone County cocaine trafficking ring.
Redmon, also known as "Harp," pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and powder cocaine in (More)
Posted 6:15 PM 12/1/2015 by Derek Brizendine, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - Amid the deals and bargains of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is a day set aside for being thankful for what you have and giving back to the community.
"Giving Tuesday is a global movement in its fourth year as a movement," Central Missouri Humane Society (More)
Posted 6:13 PM 12/1/2015 by Emma Henderson, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - According to the Regional Aids Interfaith Network, people ages 18-25 are more likely to test positive for HIV in mid-Missouri.
Cale Mitchell, executive director of Rain-Central Missouri said testing isn't as popular as it was in the 90's, partially due to the lack of celebrity (More)
Adv. - more news below
Posted 12:40 PM 10/7/2015 by Michael Lindquist, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA – A report presented to Columbia City Council in September stated that illegal sewer connections are causing backups and overflows in residents homes.
That's led the City of Columbia to crack down on illegal sewer connections that are leading to messy situations around (More)
Posted 4:15 PM 12/1/2015 by Andria Kirkland, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - Jefferson City Public School officials are rewriting next year’s Internet provider contract, anticipating that 2016 may bring in more tech-savvy students. Jefferson City Public Schools (JCPS) is implementing a technology program called “One to (More)