The Conflict: For years, my mother-in-law insisted on stuffing the turkey – with stuffing. She wanted the stuffing to get all the turkey deliciousness by absorbing the juices. I didn’t really like it because the stuffing was soggy, and we had to cook the bird longer. That meant dry breast meat.
The Solution: Now, our family is in charge of the thanksgiving meal. We don’t stuff the turkey. We brine it. Then smoke it. The result? Juicy turkey breast, and crisp, fluffy stuffing. I win.
The Concern: The problem is with putting stuffing in the bird, you can end up with salmonella poisoning if you don’t get the center of the bird up to 160 degrees. That’s what the experts say, anyhow. I’ve never felt like it was worth the risk to test that hypothesis. So, I just kept my mouth shut and soaked the dry breast meat in salty gravy.
Credential Stuffing: There is another stuffing that will make you sick. It’s called “Credential Stuffing.” It works like this: You read a really captivating Cyber Tripwire article about passwords. You’re instructed to make them long. Thus, you create a portmanteau of the first name of every grandchild and their birth year. Then to make it really strong, you put an exclamation point at the end. NO ONE will ever guess that! You have your new favorite password.
Just One Password: Next, you proceed to change all of your passwords to that new, really strong one. Instagram, Facebook, Bank of America, Linkedin, Gmail… the list goes on. Every website you use regularly now has a really strong password—the same password.
The Opening: All it takes is for a threat actor to get the password database from one of those sites, and they will have your email address and password for every other site, especially your email account.
Textbook Scams: What they do next is textbook. They log into your email account and send spam emails to everyone in your address book, straight from your account! One of my clients received an email this week from the victim of an attack just like this.
The email read something like, “Hey, when you get a second, I have something important to talk about. Let me know your availability.” If the recipient replied, there was an immediate response. It read, “Thanks for getting back with me. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer. I’m hoping you can help out financially. Just send me some Google Play gift cards.” This was a classic gift card scam.
The Process: Gift card scams and their variations, “The Refund Scam,” the “Fake Tech Support Scam,” almost always involve gift cards. Here are a few characteristics to watch out for:
- Someone CALLS YOU on the phone promising an unexpected monetary award (refund or sweepstakes).
- Maybe you get a scary pop-up screen on your computer notifying you of several viruses detected. The screen has an 800 number prominently displayed (Remember: Emotion shuts down the logic center of your brain.).
- The person on the phone almost ALWAYS has a non-American accent (No prejudice here. Just fact.).
- The person on the phone, or the fake tech support person “accidentally” refunds you too much money.
- They need you to “help them get that overpayment back or they will lose their job” (Preying on your natural goodness.).
- They instruct you to buy several thousand dollars in gift cards.
- Or, they may instruct you to use Western Union to wire money.
- Or, they may instruct you to get physical cash from the bank and ship it via FedEx.
Notice the Signs: No matter what the person tells you, or what you see on the computer screen, these are tell-tale signs of fraud. If you find yourself in a situation like this, immediately hang up the phone and contact the cyber guys from CyberEye BEFORE any transactions take place.
Cyber Food Poisoning: Undercooked stuffing can make you sick. Credential stuffing leading to a gift card scam is no less annoying than food poisoning.