Scammers Using Fake Calendar Invites to Target Victims

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Ernesto Rodriguez may be the public information officer for Miami Beach Police but that doesn’t mean he is immune to the latest scam.

“Every day there is something new and just when you think you’ve seen every type of scam, someone will surprise you,” he said.

Ernesto was referring to a suspicious invite that he couldn’t remove from his calendar.

“You couldn’t decline it,” he said. “You couldn’t get it off the screen.”

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The event was cluttering his already packed calendar with spam. At first, he said he ignored it. But the next day he noticed another invite that appeared over several days.

“I had that on the back of my mind,” he said. “Was my email hacked?”

It turns out he was part of a growing number of people reporting similar stories, saying their Google calendars were being spammed.

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“They try to entice you to maybe click into a link which may be a malicious link that could possibly download malware onto your computer or start asking for personal information,” cyber security expert Jay Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg said just because you’ve had a fake invite pop up on your calendar doesn’t mean you have been hacked.

In an online forum, Google said they were working diligently to resolve the issue. A company spokesperson told NBC 6 Responds they are “…deeply committed to protecting our users from spam” and that they are “…investing in new ways for users to identify and block spammers.”

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The company said they expected those changes to roll out over the coming months.

Ernesto, meanwhile, changed his passwords just to be safe. He also changed a setting that keeps the unwanted invites from populating his calendar.

“I have not gotten anymore,” Ernesto said.

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You can change your settings to keep invites you haven’t accepted from automatically being added to your Google calendar.

Here are the steps you should take to do that:

• On your computer, open Google Calendar (calendar.google.com)

• At the top right, click on the “Settings” menu

• In the “General” tab, click Event Settings > Automatically add invitations

• Select, “No, only show invitations to which I have responded.”

• Finally, scroll down to the section “View Options” and uncheck the box that says “Show declined events”

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