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 – Online Ticket Scalpers
It’s exciting to learn that your favorite Broadway play is touring the country or that your teenager’s favorite band is coming to a city near you next year. And with the ability to buy tickets online, you no longer have to camp out on the sidewalk over night to get tickets. Unfortunately, that’s also opened up a whole world of scamming.
There are two issues with online ticket scams. The first is that tech-savvy and unscrupulous people use autobot software to buy up hundreds or even thousands of tickets to a hot show. The scammers then turn around and sell the tickets they bought for double or triple the face value. They know you’ll pay it, because the original website just sold out in a matter of minutes…thanks to them.
Of course, this also leads less tech-savvy thieves to run copycat scalping websites that take your money and never send you a ticket. They’re long gone with your credit card information and your payment, and you don’t have any tickets. ALWAYS buy your tickets from a reputable ticket sales websites, and do not fall for scalping.
#2 – Email Money Transfer Scam
With the ease of online banking, online bill paying, and online money transfers, this scam is all too easy to pull off. You receive an email that says someone—quite possibly an actual name you know, if that person’s email account was hacked—has sent you an electronic payment for an outrageous amount of money. Everything about the email looks legitimate, since the thieves used an actual screenshot of a money transfer as the basis for their message.
The problem is clicking on the link in their message. Instead of taking you to a website to claim your money, you just downloaded a virus to your computer that lets the scammers sift through your personal information. They may even break into your email account in order to send this fake message to even more people, people that you know.
If you receive a strange email like this one, there are a couple of steps to take. First, confirm it with the person who supposedly sent you the money. Next, in your inbox list of emails, hover your mouse over the sender’s name (rest your pointer arrow on the name but don’t click); this will show you the email address of the actual sender. Finally, check with your bank account to see if any funds were deposited. Whatever you do, DON’T click on a link in the email itself. This is a phishing email, and it has consequences.
#3 – Inheritance/Parcel Scam
This scam works typically via email, and informs you one of several different scenarios has occurred. This was once more common in terms of the inheritance scam, where the victim was informed a relative had died and left him a lot of money; he need only pay the one-time legal administrative fee to claim it. Of course, there was no inheritance because there was no relative.
As people have become aware of this scam, it has shifted slightly to a new form that tells you a package is waiting for you at the post office or other shipping claims department. You’re informed that the delicate nature of the package—a card worth an outrageous amount of money, gold bars, jewels, whatever—means you must sign a sworn affidavit and file it with the country of origin from where the package was sent. Of course, the email also includes a way to easily supply this affidavit to you; you need only hand over all of your personal information and a credit card to pay the fee.
Obviously, this is a scam. You will never be informed of an inheritance or a sensitive package via email. You will only be notified through regular mail with a written letter. Delete the email immediately, and whatever you do, don’t click the link or supply any sensitive information about yourself.
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.