COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A lucrative scam is circulating where scammers are impersonating popular file-hosting service ‘Dropbox’ with emails that include malicious software.
This is the first in NewsChannel 13’s five-part series investigating the ways we can all be scammed.
How it works?
Scammers will send fake emails with links that contain malicious software designed to harm your computer. Depending on how severe the malware is – it will affect your computer differently.
Most commonly, the links will encrypt or put a lock on your files and then offer services to “clean your computer” for a fee.
It can escalate to Ransomware, where the hackers will hold your data for ransom unless you pay them directly or give them your credit card information.
Jonathan Bahr’s story
As a busy father of three young girls, Bahr never wants to miss capturing a moment.
Now popular programs, like Dropbox, make the process of saving and sharing these memories easy.
“It’s very easy and intuitive to use,” he said. “It’s literally drag and drop and send someone a link.”
So when Bahr received an email from Dropbox stating they wanted to ‘share files with him’ – it didn’t seem odd at first.
“It just looks like an email they would send because it’s got the same exact images, it’s just cut and paste.”
But the problem is: the email is fake. The link scammers put in there contains malicious software that can encrypt files and steal information off of your computer, so scammers can make money selling it. That’s the scam.
“Without knowing and confirming that it’s actually real, you open yourself up to a lot of problems.”
The aftermath of Malware
Once downloaded, Malware will often spread other viruses on your computer. This leads to annoying pop-ups that tend to require professional attention to remove.
Det. Jon Price, with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office explains a key way to avoid this, is to regularly update the system that runs your computer.
“Those companies like, Microsoft and Apple have security features in them to prevent your computer from being affected or attacked,” he said.
So remember – be skeptical of any email that pops in your inbox asking you to verify any of your information.
This scam is a perfect example of why hackers use companies like ‘Dropbox’ to bait us into giving them what they want.
Do you want to report a scam?
Email me at Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll investigate.