Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with industry experts to bring you updates about threats to your personal data. One group, Scam Detector, produces a top ten list of threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity. Take a look at their top three scams or fraud attempts for the past week.
#1 – Reshipping Scam
Most of us would love the chance to work from home and set our own hours, while still getting paid well, of course. And this scam plays straight into the heart of that desire. Called a reshipping scam, this one involves having you pick up or receive packages that were inadvertently sent to the wrong customers, then shipping them back to the company. It sounds really nice, doesn’t it? Easy work, good pay, while actually providing a service to both the company and the customer.
Here’s the problem: the people you work for aren’t part of the company. They’re using stolen credit cards to purchase items. Since those items have to be sent to the address that matches the credit card info on file, you’re receiving the stolen goods and mailing them to the people who stole the credit card in the first place.
Guess who’s going to want to talk to you? The FBI. You just trafficked stolen goods.
There is no such thing as easy money, but more importantly, there’s no such thing as legitimately purchasing a product and NOT being able to have it shipped to you. If you’re asked to receive any kind of items and then ship them to someone else, there’s a crime being committed and you’re now a part of it.
#2 – Extended Warranty Scam
If you own any type of high-end product or appliance like a vehicle or refrigerator, you’ve probably already received this scam offer. It comes in a very official-looking mailer, usually one whose sides you have to tear off to even open it. Inside is a small amount of information about your vehicle or appliance, along with a threat that your warranty is about to expire. This company is generous enough to sell you a new extended warranty, but only if you ACT NOW!
If you call the toll-free number on the mailer, you’ll be connected to a representative who gives you a fast-paced, high-pressure sales pitch to choose one of their warranty options. After taking all of your information and your initial deposit to initiate your warranty, they’re done with you. Not only do they have your money and your personal information (which they can then use for identity theft), you did not receive any coverage on your purchased item whatsoever.
These mailers are scams, and any semblance of coverage they offer you is bogus. Remember, no one is going to contact you and offer you years’ worth of no-cost coverage for only a few hundred dollars.
#3 – Emailed Receipt Scam
This scam employs a phishing tactic based on the fact that so many consumers use major chain stores like Walmart or online retailers like iTunes or Amazon. Scammers are counting on you being a frequent customer of these kinds of stores, and then clicking on their emailed attachment.
The “attached receipt” promised in the email is actually malicious software which you just downloaded by opening it.
NEVER click a link in an email unless you were expecting it, even if it’s from a friend (as their account could have been hacked in order to get you click on it, thinking it’s trustworthy). If you think you might actually have a receipt coming from that store, or you’re afraid someone made a purchase on your account and this receipt may be the proof of that, then go directly to your account yourself, log in, and check your recent purchases.
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.