A growing number of Albertans are falling victim to social media fraud, according to the Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay (BBB).
The BBB said a number of consumers and businesses recently reported they had been hacked.
Calgarian Shawn Barrie was one of them. He told Global News it all started after he was contacted on Instagram by someone posing as an acquaintance.
The person simply asked, “Hey wassup,” before asking him for help setting up another social media account. Barrie said he was sent a link that he was to copy and send back.
Barrie obliged and said the response was immediate.
“All of a sudden, my email is going berserk,” he said, “saying my Instagram account has had a new login from Nigeria.
“My Instagram account name has changed. My email that had been on my account had been changed. My cell number that had been on my account had been changed, and they put on a two-factor verification.”
Barrie said he was completely shut out of his account. But, he added, it didn’t end there. The hackers then started using his content, including personal photos, on another site to promote a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme.
They also reached out to several people on his contact list using the same modus operandi.
Those who knew him quickly alerted him.
“They know I’ve never used that phrase in my life: ‘Wassup,’” he said, “so they knew something ‘wassup!’”
Barrie said he put out a warning for his other contacts on the social media sites he did still have control of. He also reported the fraud to Instagram but added it took almost a week to get the site to shut it down.
By then, he said, some of his contacts had bought into the scam.
“There were at least three or four of my contacts that fell victim to it. All the people were thinking it was from me, and as a result, they lost access to their accounts as well.”
The BBB told Global News as more and more people use social media, the more comfortable we’re becoming with it.
“Our guard is down. Those (messages) are coming in and our guard is down,” the BBB’s Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen said.
She added while it may seem like just an inconvenience at first, it can quickly become much more sinister.
“You don’t really know where your data has gone,” she said, “and we live on a lot of those social media apps. Our pictures are there. Our personal information is there. Our families are there.
“Your protection has been compromised in one way or another. Whether it causes some impact today or whether there is potential for impact down the road, the fact is you’re compromised.”
The BBB is advising online users to take the following steps to protect themselves from being hacked on social media:
- Be cautious with your personal information. Never give out personal information, such as your full name, telephone number, address, etc. to a person or business you don’t know or trust.
- Don’t friend people you don’t know. Be extra cautious of what you click on from “friends” you don’t recognize. Messages that are brief or come from people you don’t expect to hear from might be scams that include links to malicious sites.
- Protect your password. Use different passwords for each social media/email account and avoid including your name or common words. Never share your password with anyone.
- Use extra security features. Turn on two-factor authentication or set up a security code.
- Log out of Facebook. When using a computer you share with other people, log out.
- Understand your privacy settings. Familiarize yourself with your privacy settings and revisit them frequently. As Facebook adds new features, it makes decisions about settings that you may or may not like.
- Third-party apps. Never allow a third-party app to gain access to your personal information. These apps will have rights to post anything on your behalf, which could get dangerous.
Barrie has upped his security features on all of his social media accounts. He didn’t lose any money but said he did lose a lot of time getting this whole mess sorted.
He also said he lost something else: “Lost reputation, lost connections.”
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Russian lawmakers approve bill on banning foreign media – ABC News
MOSCOW — The lower house of Russia’s parliament gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would allow the banning of foreign news media in response to other countries’ actions against Russian news outlets.
The Kremlin-controlled State Duma approved the bill on its final, third reading. The equally pliant upper house of parliament is set to quickly rubber-stamp the measure before Russian President Vladimir Putin signs it into law.
Russia has repeatedly complained in recent months that Western countries were improperly restricting Russian media by banning their operation or denying visas to their journalists. In early June, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called in representatives of American media, including The Associated Press, to warn that they could be denied renewal of their visas and accreditation.
The new bill also allows Russia’s prosecutor general to cancel the registration of media outlets for disseminating “illegal, dangerous, unreliable publicly significant information or information expressing clear disrespect for society, the state, the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as aimed at discrediting the Russian armed forces.”
Many foreign news organizations suspended or curtailed their operations in Russia following the passage in March of a law calling for up to 15 years in prison for reports seen as discrediting the Russian military.
The Russian Foreign Ministry in May ordered the closure of the Moscow bureau pf the state-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in response to Canada’s ban on RT, a Russian state-controlled broadcaster.
In February, as Russia built up troops along Ukraine’s border, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle was ordered to close in Moscow after Germany banned the broadcast of RT’s German-language programs.
Russia in recent years has persistently clamped down on independent journalism. Following the start of the Ukraine conflict, many significant independent news media shut down or suspended operations. They included the Ekho Moskvy radio station and the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, whose editor, Dmitry Muratov, was last year’s co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Media Release – June 30, 2022 – Guelph Police – Guelph Police Service
Indecent act under investigation
The Guelph Police Service is investigating after a male was observed committing an indecent act outside a north-end apartment Wednesday night.
Just after 11 p.m., police received a call from a female resident in the area of Speedvale Avenue and Woolwich Street advising she had just seen a male watching her through the window while masturbating. The female and her roommate screamed causing the male to flee, but he returned a short time later before leaving again.
He was described as a white male, average height with dark hair. He was wearing a blue plaid shirt over a darker shirt and long pants.
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Constable Nick Doner at 519-824-1212, ext. 7230, email him at email@example.com, leave an anonymous message for Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.
Teen charged with assaulting child and officer
A Guelph teenager is charged with assaulting a child and a police officer following an incident Wednesday evening.
Just after 8 p.m., police were called to a park in the area of Grange Road and Watson Parkway North. Witnesses reported a six-year-old child was playing on a merry-go-round when the teen, whom the child does not know, began to spin it very quickly causing the child to fall off and bump her head.
As officers attempted to speak to the teen she threw several punches, three of them striking an officer in the chest area.
A 15-year-old Guelph female is charged with assault and assault police. She will appear in a Guelph court August 10, 2022.
Male arrested in fraud attempt
A Hamilton-area male faces several charges after attempting to defraud a Guelph business.
Approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday, police were called to a business in the area of Gordon Street and Kortright Road West for a report of a male using several debit cards and a fake identity document in an effort to withdraw $26,000.
The male was arrested on scene. During a search incident to arrest, officers located four debit cards in various names as well as a forged driver’s licence and social insurance card.
A 43-year-old Stoney Creek male is charged with fraud over $5,000, possessing identity documents, personation, using forged documents and four counts of breaching a release order. He was held for a bail hearing Thursday.
Male arrested in stolen vehicle
A Palmerston male faces several charges after he was caught Wednesday in a stolen vehicle.
Guelph Police Service officers were dispatched just after 2 p.m. to check on a male slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle on Rosewood Avenue. Investigation revealed the van had been reported stolen from Palmerston.
The male was placed under arrest for possessing the stolen vehicle. A subsequent search revealed numerous break and enter tools and identification in the name of a deceased female. The male is also a suspended driver.
A 28-year-old Palmerston male is charged with possessing stolen property over $5,000, occupying a stolen motor vehicle, possessing break and enter instruments, possessing an identity document and driving while suspended. He was held for a bail hearing Thursday.
Total calls for service in the last 24 hours – 219
Media companies expand health coverage after the Supreme Court abortion ruling. – The New York Times
News organizations join other businesses that will reimburse employees who need to travel to access reproductive health care.
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion, some media companies have wrestled with a complex issue: how to balance their news coverage with the desire to expand their policies to protect reproductive health care for their employees.
Vox Media’s chief executive, Jim Bankoff, consulted with his top editors to make sure the corporate response to the court’s ruling would not undermine coverage. BuzzFeed chief executive Jonah Peretti, who shared his “outrage” about the court’s decision in a memo to his employees, said in an interview that different teams determine the company’s editorial and corporate responses.
“It’s a very delicate balance,” said Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of American media. “The news organization feels a serious commitment to its own employees and their health and safety.”
Vox and BuzzFeed joined other media companies, including CNN, NBCUniversal, and Condé Nast, in announcing they would cover abortion-related travel expenses for employees. NBCUniversal’s parent company, Comcast, for example, will cover up to $4,000 per trip and up to three trips per year for employee medical travel, with an annual maximum of $10,000. Fox Corporation and The Washington Post did not respond to requests for comment on whether they plan to cover abortion-related travel.
The New York Times on Thursday said its health care plan was being expanded to cover abortion-related travel and other procedures not available within 100 miles of an employee’s home, including gender-affirming care. The company said it was talking with unions that represent its employees to make sure that benefit is available to everyone.
“It’s our goal to make sure that everyone who works for the Times Company has equitable access to care,” said Danielle Rhoades Ha, a company spokeswoman. “We are actively working with the NewsGuild on this matter.”
Mr. Bankoff, of Vox, said he emphasized journalistic independence in communicating the company’s expansion of reproductive health care, which now includes a reimbursement of up to $1,500 for travel-related expenses.
“Our audience is sophisticated and understands the company’s position as an employer is independent of the responsibility of our editorial networks and individual reporters,” he said.
Mr. Peretti, of BuzzFeed, said the company’s corporate and editorial operations had been separately preparing for the court’s ruling since a leak last month revealed that the court was likely to overturn Roe v. Wade. “The leadership team that was meeting to talk about our company policy was not the same people who are in editorial meetings and discussions,” he said. “Across the company, the news was disturbing to a lot of people.”
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