Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detector leads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity.
Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.
#1 – The Bet You Can’t Scam
There’s a popular meme making its way around social media sites, mostly Facebook, that challenges the users and plays off their natural curiosity. Unfortunately, the consequences of this scam range from nothing more than a mild waste of your time and the relinquishing of your contacts list, to downloading harmful viruses to your computer.
Typically these are simple images that your friends share on Facebook. They’ll have odd, too-simple “challenges” like, “Bet you can’t think of a word that starts with A and ends with E.” Too easy, right? That’s because the original post is designed to lure you into commenting with the first word that pops into your head. Once you comment, the original poster can continue to send you marketing information and can then create posts that reach your friends’ list. It’s mostly harmless, but intrusive.
What is more alarming are the more nefarious ones, like, “99% of people won’t be able to sit through this entire video!” These lures are more dangerous, and may even state that you must be a certain age to view it or that it’s not safe for work (NSFW). Once your curiosity gets the better of you, you click the link to be taken to a video. Clicking the link (or perhaps the video link) can install viruses and malware on your computer, giving scammers the ability to root around through your computer and uncover information about you which can be used to steal your identity.
#2 – Account Upgrade/Account Suspended Phishing Scam
Phishing emails are sent out randomly by scammers who are “fishing” for their next victim. They can send these out to hundreds of thousands of people a day, all hoping that someone takes the bait.
One of the more common phishing emails is the kind that tells you your account has been suspended, is overdue, or needs to be verified or upgraded. These emails may appear to come from PayPal, eBay, Chase MasterCard, or other well-known companies that have millions of customers. Scammers choose them because there’s a good chance you have an account with one of those companies.
If you ever receive an email that tells you your account is in need of some kind of repair, do NOT click the link! Instead, delete the email (even if it claims to contain a reference number you’ll need) and then log into your account on your own and verify that everything’s okay. If you’re still in doubt, speak to an agent from the company by calling a number you have on file.
#3 – Major Event Scam
Any time a major event occurs—such a disaster like the Nepal earthquake, or a significant visit like the Pope’s upcoming US tour—scammers will come out of the woodwork to bilk people out of their money. It may be in the form of donation requests, either electronically or by text message, or in terms of selling you high-priced, fraudulent tickets.
Whenever you’re responding to any kind of newsworthy event, make sure you’re only working with a reputable source. For charitable giving, you can go through a number of sources before donating that will ensure your money reaches those in need. Sources like the Better Business Bureau and the IRS can verify a charity’s status.
For online ticket purchases or event passes, be sure to use established ticketing sites that have verifiable security on their websites before entering your personal details and financial information.
For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.