Scammers are trying out a new “cancellation request” email scam to see if anyone will fall for it, even employees at the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).

There are a few hilarious videos floating around online in which scammers call an unsuspecting victim and threaten to have them arrested. Many of these scammers claim to be with the IRS or the Social Security Administration and inform the consumer that they will be arrested if they do not pay a hefty fine immediately over the phone. The hilarious part? Some of the videos, such as this one, were received by the police.

Of course, scams are not funny when the recipient cannot tell they are being scammed. One “cancellation request” email scam attempt that was received by a staff member of the ITRC claimed to be shutting down their work email address; clicking the “cancel” button would supposedly stop it. Fortunately, as an ITRC staffer, they were very aware of many of the tactics these criminals use and did not click the button.

In the case of the email shutdown message, there was a link button for the recipient to click. As the ITRC and other experts have warned for years, you should never click a link, download a file or open an attachment in any kind of message unless you were specifically expecting it. Why?

  • It can contain a virus
  • It can redirect you to a page that steals your personal information or login credentials
  • It can propagate within your computer or network to look for files that the scammers think are useful
  • It can be ransomware, which will lock up your entire computer or network until you pay the ransom to the scammers

There are things you can do to see whether or not an email is an email scam. First, hover your mouse over the sender’s email address. Do not click it. Just hover. The actual email address will show up in a small box. Next, look for grammar errors or misspellings in the message itself. If you spot any, it is probably not a real message. Finally, on the off-chance there is something to this warning, head over to your account yourself by going directly to the company’s website. Find out if there is anything wrong and handle it that way instead of clicking through. Hackers are always looking for new ways to scam consumers. However, if you implement these practices, it will reduce your risk of falling victim to the latest scam that is making the rounds, including this “cancellation request” email scam.

If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you can call the Identity Theft Resource Center toll free at 888.400.5530 to speak with one of our advisors or live chat with an advisor on our website. They will help you create an action plan for your case while directing you on the next steps you need to take.

For on-the-go identity assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.

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