Every week, the ITRC highlights the top scams to make news around the internet. These are the top five phishing, identity theft, or data breach scams from the week of August 15th through 21st.
This scam, which has gone out via email and as text messages sent to current iPhone owners, offers the recipient the chance to receive and keep a new iPhone 6 in exchange for helping Apple product test it. The message includes a link for the recipient to click in order to enter a lot of personal information, which the sender then sells or uses for identity theft.
Think of it this way: does Apple really not have enough people to call on to test its new phone? Does the largest and wealthiest tech company in the world have to beg people via text message to try out their products? Of course not. So don’t fall victim to this scam and hand over your data to criminals.
#2 – Cutest Baby Contest
This scam is as old as scamming and it keeps working because we all (rightfully so) think that our own children are the best-looking, most adorable, most darling babies on the planet. But thanks to technology, this scam is not only easier than ever to pull off due to the endless pool of potential victims provided by social media, but also thanks to the understanding that the offered prize really could happen.
Using a site like Facebook—and taking advantage of the share and like buttons that help spread the word—scammers offer a contest with a small entry fee that lets the victims submit a photo of their babies in order to be entered into the Cutest Baby Contest. Thanks to the technology of Facebook, we probably don’t even have to get up from our chairs in order to enter this one; we can submit a photo right out of our stored photos, at the touch of a few screen swipes on our phones.
Once a victim enters the contest, there’s an amazing likelihood that his baby is chosen as the winner, and for another slightly larger fee, the alleged contest organizers will send a book with the baby’s photo on the cover. Of course, the contest is bogus and the book never arrives, all while the scammer not only has your money, but also has a photo of your child to do with as he pleases.
#3 – Benefits Package
We all know not to respond to odd-sounding requests for money from a Nigerian prince, but it’s a little harder to ignore a letter from the government, especially one that says you must fill out a document or that you’re owed a reimbursement. After all, the government always takes too much in taxes, right?
Wrong. The government will never send you an email stating that they need more information, that they owe you money, or worse, that you owe them money. This type of transaction is still handled through the mail on good old-fashioned paper in order to protect you by providing a paper trail that can’t be deleted if a server crashes.
If you receive an unknown email telling you to open an attachment or click on a link, delete it immediately. It may very well contain viruses or software that can attack your computer and grab your sensitive data. Also remember that these emails could come from an address that you already know, as that person’s email account could have been hacked.
For the rest of the ITRC top ten scams of the week, go to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s website at IDTheftCenter.org.
If you found this information helpful, you may want to consider taking part in the Identity Theft Resource Center's Anyone3 fundraising campaign. For more information or to donate please visit http://www.idtheftcenter.org/anyone-3.