'Tis the season for cyber crime

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - It's that time of year when savvy holiday shoppers look for the best deal online, but FBI cyber experts warn it's also the time cyber criminals are busy trying to steal your information and your money.

You open your email and you see what appears to be an email from PayPal asking you to contact them about a problem with your account. It looks legitimate; it has the PayPal logo, hyperlinks and a contact phone number, but if you actually read it the wording is a bit off. "We need you working with us to restore your PayPal account."

FBI expert says this email is actually a phishing scam used by hackers trying to install malware on your computer to steal your information.

Supervisory Special Agent James Lamadrid explained, "So worse case scenario they may have access to your web cam. They may have access to your files, your documents on that are on there as well. Also they might install a key stroke logger which essentially will take all of that information that you put in so your bank account information, your credentials - your user name and password they can collect as well."

PayPal isn't the only company name hackers like to use. With more and more people making their holiday purchases online Amazon is another big name criminals use to try to steal your information. "They're good at trying to mimic what the legitimate company would do."

Special Agent Lamadrid says you always want to check the legitimacy of any email you receive even if you recognize the company name. "Check my orders, go to the Amazon.com website directly through the contact us drop down menu, send them an email maybe make a phone call to make sure it's legitimate," said Lamadrid. "It is a pain, it's inconvenient but again would you rather waste 5 minutes for lose $500."

If you've become a victim of a cyber crime you can contact the FBI directly: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx


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