Beware the New Phishing Scam That's Attacking Your Google Calendar

iStock/shapecharge
iStock/shapecharge

No matter which corner of the internet you visit, you'll find scammers trying to take advantage of you. You may already know to be skeptical of emails, Facebook posts, and dating profiles that seem too good to be true. Now, WIRED reports that there's a new type of security threat that targets your Google Calendar.

Findings from the threat intelligence firm Kaspersky show there's been a recent wave of scam artists using hyperlink-embedded events to gain access to people's sensitive information. They start by spamming Google Calendar users with seemingly benign calendar invites. Anyone can accept the invitations, but the real targets are users with the default setting that automatically adds every event they're invited to to their Google Calendar. Once it's been added, Google sends notifications related to the event, making it seem more trustworthy.

If you open the invitation you might find a description like "You've received a cash reward," or a tease for a fake survey. The text always includes a hyperlink; clicking it takes you to a form that asks for personal information like your credit card number—a common theme in many phishing scams.

Being wary of what arrives in your email inbox has become common sense on the internet. But a phishing link that arrives in a Google Calendar invite is less expected, and after only receiving event invites from friends and coworkers for years, even savvy web users may be more likely to fall for it.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from the scam that don't involve deleting the app that keeps your life organized. In Google Calendar, go to Settings, click Event Settings, and then find Automatically Add Invitations. You want to make sure the option "No, only show invitations to which I've responded" is selected— that way suspicious events you've ignored won't show up in your calendar later. Also be sure to unselect "Show declined events" to do the same for invites you've declined.

No matter how smart your internet habits are, it's hard to keep track of all the phishing scams out there. Here are a few more scams to be aware of.

[h/t WIRED]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]