Phone and internet scammers are back at it. They love to use the same old tricks in new ways. One of their favorites is to pose as a business or government official to pressure you into sending them money or personal information. Now, some scammers are pretending to be popular online shopping websites, phishing for your personal information.
(Phishing, pronounced “fishing” is the fraudulent practice of sending emails or making phone calls purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers).
For example, you get a call from someone who claims to be with “Amazon.com.” (Spoiler: they’re not from Amazon.) The person will say that your credit card has been charged a large amount of money for an order. Then, they’ll give you the “Amazon Support” phone number and tell you to immediately call if you didn’t make that purchase.
If this seems suspicious, that’s because it is. Scammers want you to call the number they give so they can ask for your passwords, credit card number, and other sensitive information to get your money.
Another version of the same scam is to call and “alert you” that your card has been charged $40.00 or $50.00 to open an Amazon Prime account. The person on the phone will ask you if you want to continue service with Amazon or cancel it. Regardless of your choice, the person will direct you to get onto your computer and enter a web address into the web browser so you can fill out the service/cancelation contract.
The issue is, once you enter the web address you are provided and hit the “enter” button, your computer is connected to THE SCAMMER’S network and they now have full access to YOUR computer. That includes all programs, pictures, files, emails, contact lists, Facebook, etc.
Even if you don’t have your banking information on your device, they will harvest all the information they can from it. This can lead to further attacks and potential scam attacks on your family and friends as well.
If you get a call like this, there are a few steps you should take:
#1 Hang up. Don’t call them back on the number they gave you. Do not enter any websites into your computer, phone or tablet at their direction.
#2 Check your credit card account. If you see a charge you don’t recognize, file a dispute with your credit card company immediately.
#3 Notify local law enforcement. The people perpetrating these scams are from overseas more often than not and out of reach for local law enforcement. However, should you suffer a financial loss; your banking institution/credit card company is going to want to know it was reported.
Finally; these are only two of the most current scams people are actually falling victim to on a daily basis. The people perpetrating these scams have nothing better to do than to figure out new ways to separate you from your money and there are endless phone, email and check cashing scams out there. Always be suspicious of unsolicited emails or text messages, delete them without opening them if you can.
If it seems too good to be true, it is. You should never have to pay money to get money. And no one is going to pay you $8,000 a month to drive around with a Dr. Pepper sticker on your car.
Should you feel the need to contact the company they are reporting themselves to be, you can locate the company’s contact information on their actual website to include a contact phone number. You can also call 411 and ask directory assistance for the company’s information.