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Scam alert: Fake Netflix email seeks payment info, personal data

Beware, Netflix customers: Scammers are trying to get your personal information using a realistic-looking email that falsely claims to be from the streaming service.

>> Scam alert: Fake Amazon email targets online shoppers

Ohio's Solon Police Department took to Facebook earlier this month to warn subscribers of the phishing scam, an email that asks recipients to update their payment information.

"We're having some trouble with your current billing information," reads the email. "We'll try again, but in the meantime you may want to update your payment details."

>> See a screenshot here

Police explained that "criminals want you to click the links, so that you voluntarily give your personal identifying information away."

"It is very successful," the Police Department's Facebook post said. "Don't put your guard down. Contact the source of the email by another method that you trust, to make sure your accounts are maintained. Don't click the links. The links could also be a way to install malware on your computer."

>> Read more trending news 

Other versions of the scam email are also making the rounds. Check out some of them below:

Customers should "never enter [their] login or financial details after following a link in an email or text message," Netflix says on its website, adding that customers should "never click on any links or open any attachments" in an unexpected message. Read more tips here.

To report a suspicious email to Netflix, click here.

Scam alert: Fake Amazon email targets online shoppers

The holiday season is a busy time of year for everybody, including scammers.

>> Watch the news report here

There is an email scam going around with a new twist that targets online shoppers.

This latest scam specifically goes after people who use Amazon.

While online shopping may be more convenient, it can also be riskier.

>> On WFTV.com: Amazon worker accused of stealing eyebrow makeup, gift cards and electronics accessories

In the latest scam, an email that appears to be from Amazon says a user's password needs to be reset.

They are instructed to enter their username and password on a page that looks authentic.

The scammers have even figured out how to steal from customers immediately.

"They just write a program that, as soon as you submit that, they get it," said Adam Estes, a computer security engineer. "And it automatically logs in and starts buying things like that."

Experts said an account might be maxed out before users even know they were scammed, and it's impossible to trace.

>> Read more trending news 

"They can buy things like a Facebook gift card or an Amazon gift card or all kinds of things and have it sent straight to an email address, and it's an instant delivery," Estes said.

The scam might have dozens of different versions.

The emails might say there is a problem with an order or that a user must update shipping information.

Estes said customers should never do anything directly from an email.

"So if it says you need to reset your password, go directly to Amazon.com and log in," he said. "Similar scams target other online accounts and even your banking information."

Should text messages be taxed to help the poor? One state is considering it

If you live in California, you may soon have to pay a tax for your text messages.

According to the Mercury News and KGO, the state's Public Utilities Commission will vote Jan. 10 on the tax, which "likely would be billed as a flat surcharge per customer ... not a fee per text." Officials have not said how much that charge would be.

>> Read more trending news 

The money would be used "to help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor," the Mercury News reported.

Opponents said the fees could cost California consumers more than $45 million annually.

"When hardworking Californians are already feeling taxed and 'feed' to death, not every new idea needs a new tax to fund it," Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Leadership Group president and CEO, told KGO

Meanwhile, the CTIA, a trade group that represents wireless carriers, is arguing that the PUC can't legally charge the fee because "texting is an information service like email, not a telecommunications service," the Mercury News reported

Read more here or here.

Holiday shopping tips: How to protect yourself from cyber thieves

Shoppers should take extra precaution this holiday season as cyber thieves are expected to step up their attacks on credit cards, ATMs and gift cards.

Last year’s holiday season was the worst ever in terms of account takeover, according to identity theft intelligence firm 4iQ, and the company expects this year will top that, according to a statement. Cyber crimes continue to grow and are expected to reach around $6 trillion in damages by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

>> Holiday shopping tips: Online scammers using 'realistic' URLs to fool victims, BBB warns

In Ohio this month, about $20,000 was stolen via a skimmer reading ATM card information at IH Credit Union in Clark County, although no customer information was compromised. Englewood police are also looking for a man who stole $100,000 from various Huntington Bank ATMs in the Dayton area.

And reputable websites like Newegg have seen recent credit card theft, with a monthlong data breach that exposed the credit card information of anyone who purchased something earlier this fall.

“A major holiday like Christmas, obviously there’s going to be a huge spike in solicitations for donations and all those sorts of things, because people are online and they’re spending money. We see an increase in scams even connected to national tragedies,” said Shawn Waldman, CEO of Secure Cyber Defense in Miamisburg.

>> Christmas 2018: 5 holiday traditions that aren't as traditional as you think

Shoppers can take some precautions to protect themselves both online and in store, most importantly checking their credit card activity regularly.

“Don’t wait until you receive your credit card statement to review for fraud or for simple human errors,” said Natalie Dunlevey, president of Dayton-based National Processing Solutions. “Check it online. This is the season to enjoy friends and family but also to remain vigilant. Scammers don’t take a holiday and are counting on you to let down your guard.”

The best practice is to use cash, Dunlevey said. While the new chip readers in cards have reduced fraudulent activity, Dunlevey said it’s nothing compared to other countries in Europe and India that have moved to cards with rotating numbers.

>> Christmas 2018: Rise in online shopping could lead to holiday shipping delays

“We’ll just continue to fall down the food chain of easiest country to hack,” she said.

But if shoppers prefer to not carry cash, Waldman said using a credit card is always better than a debit card because credit card companies have more protections against unauthorized purchases.

“Many shoppers are trying to make their dollars stretch as far as possible during the holidays,” she said. “Scammers know this as well and create pop-up websites that advertise impossibly cheap prices for highly sought-after items or ‘hot’ holiday gifts that are impossible to find.”

>> Amazon to ship live Christmas trees this season

Never give information to a website that isn’t marked with a padlock in the address bar at the top of the page, which Dunlevey said indicates the site is secure. And no legitimate retailers will ever ask for credit card information in a pop-up chat window either.

“When you’re shopping online, all those rules still apply,” Waldman said. “Have commercial anti-virus (software). Put as many barriers between you and the hacker.”

The U.S. Postal Service is also warning online shoppers to register their address for the free USPS Informed Delivery program that updates consumers about when their packages arrive. Scammers have started registering home addresses under their own emails so they will know when a package will be delivered.

>> Read more trending news 

Some scammers also go for gift cards found on the kiosks in store aisles, scratching off the numbers and writing them down. Then they wait for the card to be purchased and activated before draining the balance, Dunlevey said.

“Always try to purchase gift cards that are located behind store counters or directly from a retailer’s website,” Dunlevey said. “Look at the back of the card to ensure that the area with the protective scratch-off is intact.”

Holiday shopping tips: Online scammers using 'realistic' URLs to fool victims, BBB warns

As Cyber Monday comes to a close, the holiday shopping season is officially underway. That means more deals for shoppers and more opportunities for schemers.

>> Watch the news report here

The Better Business Bureau said that during this time, it’s very important to double check the URL before you click “buy.”

It’s the busiest time of the year for online shoppers. Many of them look to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to save money.

However, many more will remain on the hunt for deals over the next few weeks.

>> Christmas 2018: Rise in online shopping could lead to holiday shipping delays

Nancy Crawford of the BBB said online shoppers will need to pay extra attention to avoid bad business. 

“Anything a person can create, someone else can hack. You just have to be very vigilant about the sites you’re going to,” Crawford said. 

Crawford said some unverified websites are now using URLs that resemble those of legitimate retailers.

She said taking a close look at that URL is the key to telling real from fake.

“What comes before the dot com or dot org is the real name of that domain,” Crawford said. “The last few words are going to be the really telling factor of the website that you’re on.” 

The BBB said another way to tell of legit sites is quite simple: reach out.

“Look for contact information. A physical address. A phone number,” Crawford said.

>> Read more trending news 

If you do end up making a purchase from a bad site, it’s better to have used a credit card.

“The safest way for you to pay is with a credit card because you have protections under federal law where you can challenge those charges on your credit card,” Crawford explained. 

The BBB said before you consider making a purchase, it’s also wise to check the BBB website to see if the company you’re doing business with is reputable. 

To see the full report, click here.

Google doodle spooks with first-ever multiplayer Halloween game

Have you peeped Google lately? It’s all about Halloween.

>> On AJC.com: Halloween 2018: Most popular Halloween costumes of 2018

The search engine site, which sometimes uses its homepage to observe special occasions, is giving a special nod to the spooky holiday with an interactive, multiplayer game.

>> On Google.com: Play the game and learn more about the doodle here

The game is called “The Great Ghoul Duel,” where players compete as two teams of four. Each group must collect the spirit flames that are scattered around the map and return them to their homes before the moon is gone. But of course there are some obstacles along the way as players can steal flames from their opponents. 

>> Read more trending news 

Those who snatch up the most spirit flames will unlock special powers like speed boosts, night vision, magnetism and more. Each match lasts only about two minutes. You can play with family and friends by sending an invitation link or can compete against randomized players across the globe.

Google announced it’s the company’s first-ever multiplayer interactive game doodle powered by Google Cloud. Give it a try now, and learn more about the fun here.

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Gab, social network used by suspect, forced offline

The social network used by the suspected shooter in Pittsburgh has been forced offline.

>> Watch the news report here

Gab, a platform popular with the far-right, came under scrutiny after it was revealed the suspect used it to target Jews online

Tech companies including PayPal and its hosting provider, Joyent, have cut ties with the site.

Moments before opening fire into a Pittsburgh synagogue, police say suspected shooter Robert Bowers posted his last anti-Semitic message on Gab.

>> On WPXI.com: Pittsburgh synagogue shooting aftermath: Live updates

“Gab did not kill anybody,” said Andrew Torba, Gab's CEO.

He defended the social network to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of the far-right site Infowars.

“Social media posts never killed anybody,” Torba added. “The only people responsible here is the individual.”

KIRO-TV in Seattle sat down with University of Washington assistant professor Kate Starbird, who studies online conspiracies and misinformation, and asked her what responsibility social media bears in real life events.

>> Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: What is Gab, website used by shooting suspect?

“I think there's the responsibility, the question is actually difficult because I don’t think we can assign responsibility to one thing. There's a lot of different factors that are converging at one time,” Starbird said.

Starbird did not want to discuss Gab specifically but did say some people are purposefully using social media as a radicalization tool.

“We are seeing social media act as one channel of radicalization,” Starbird said. “Five years ago, we were talking about ISIS; now we are talking about white supremacy, ethno-nationalism and other kinds of things.”

KIRO asked if social media companies need to do a better job monitoring the content on their sites and referring questionable content to authorities before it escalates to disaster or violence.

>> Read more trending news 

“That’s a hard question. I don’t know if I am capable of answering it. Social media is faced with two hard questions, just to decide what’s toxic and what’s not,” Starbird said.

Starbird also says there are questions of how to monitor the content.

“Maybe they should, but it’s not an easy problem to solve,” Starbird said.

KIRO also learned that Gab was previously hosted by Microsoft Azure, which threatened to cut ties with the site after anti-Semitic posts over the summer. Microsoft declined an interview. A spokesperson would only say Microsoft terminated its Azure agreement with Gab last month. 

Your Spectrum bill is about to go up

Spectrum will be increasing costs to consumers starting in a little more than a week.

The rate changes will go into effect on or after November 1, and the increases are planned for all of the company’s markets.

Broadcast TV surcharges will increase from $8.85 to $9.95 per month.

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The charge for Spectrum receivers will rise, from $6.99 to $7.50 monthly.

An increase of $54.99 to $59.99 monthly is planned for Spectrum Internet to current customers who subscribe to Spectrum TV.

An increase from $64.99 to $65.99 per month is set for Spectrum Internet to current customers who do not subscribe to Spectrum TV.

There will be no change to package prices of Spectrum TV or Spectrum Voice.

Numerous media outlets are reporting that Spectrum’s parent company, Charter, has written to municipalities a letter that says in part: “Like every business, Charter faces rising costs that require occasional price adjustments.”

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The letter says the new prices are “Effective on or after November 1, 2018.”

Spectrum says the price increases are happening in all markets that Spectrum operates. The company operates in 41 states.

Charter Communications bought Time Warner Cable in 2016.

Facebook says 50 million accounts affected by security issue

Facebook has confirmed that there was a security issue that has compromised at least 50 million accounts.

In a statement on the social media company’s Facebook Newsroom website, Guy Rosen, Facebook vice president of product management, said the company’s engineering team found a security issue Tuesday afternoon.

>> Read more trending news 

“We’re taking this incredibly seriously and wanted to let everyone know what’s happened and the immediate action we’ve taken to protect people’s security.

Our investigation is still in its early stages. But it’s clear that attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted “View As”, a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts. Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.”

Rosen said the vulnerability has been fixed and law enforcement has been contacted. The tokens have been reset for the known affected accounts.

“As a result, around 90 million people will now have to log back in to Facebook, or any of their apps that use Facebook Login,” Rosen said. “After they have logged back in, people will get a notification at the top of their News Feed explaining what happened.”

The “View As” feature is now temporarily turned off.

Rosen said the company does not know who did the attack or where it’s based. 

If more affected accounts are found, access tokens will immediately be reset, he said.

“People’s privacy and security is incredibly important, and we’re sorry this happened. It’s why we’ve taken immediate action to secure these accounts and let users know what happened. There’s no need for anyone to change their passwords. But people who are having trouble logging back into Facebook — for example because they’ve forgotten their password — should visit our Help Center. And if anyone wants to take the precautionary action of logging out of Facebook, they should visit the “Security and Login” section in settings. It lists the places people are logged into Facebook with a one-click option to log out of them all.”

Rosen said the Facebook Newsroom post would be updated when there is more information on the attack or if facts change.

Doctors use 3D printer to save baby's life

At Children's Hospital of Atlanta, a baby boy is breathing a lot easier, thanks to a life-saving procedure involving a 3D printing machine.

Eight-month-old Amir is sleeping peacefully and breathing easy now, something he couldn't do when he was born.

"He was just a baby that, he would always cry," said his mom, Linda Long. "So we knew something was wrong with him, but we didn't know exactly what was wrong with him."

What Linda and Quantavious didn't know is that their son was born with flimsy airways and two holes in his heart. One day, at just 2 months old, Amir stopped breathing.

"That's my baby," said Long. "Don't know what to do but, I wanted to help him but I couldn't."

>> Read more trending news 

Amir was rushed to Children's Hospital of Atlanta, to a team that knew they needed to work fast.

"The child at the time was about as sick as you possibly can be," said Dr. Kevin Maher, a pediatric cardiologist. "He was on a ventilator, sedated, medication to keep him paralyzed." 

Maher, a team of doctors, technicians and even engineers from Georgia Tech got involved, and came up with a big plan to help their tiny patient. They used a 3D printer to make small custom splints to repair his airways.

"They were able to use sutures to pull the airway open and then attach it to this custom made splint to hold the airway open," Maher said.

Then, they patched the holes in his heart. 

"The difference from the morning to the night was one of the most dramatic things I've seen in medicine," Maher said.

Doctors had to get rush FDA approval, as it was the first time this type of technology and surgery have ever been used in Georgia.

"It was really one of the more stunning things I've seen in my career," Maher said, "to take a child that was that sick and to really provide a treatment that otherwise did not exist."

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

A treatment that has mom and dad looking forward to Amir's future.

"Hopefully we can get him home and eating and just like a regular baby," said Long. 

Doctors say Amir's prognosis looks good. The splints will stay in until the airways are strong enough to stay open on their own. Even though they had to get rush FDA approval for this surgery, Maher hopes one day it will be widely available.

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