The ingenuity of some people is truly amazing. Some of these scams are so blatantly obvious (“you have just been left $200,000,000 by someone who chooses to remain anonymous but we need you to wire us $230 so we can transfer the funds…) but some are truly scary and dangerous. I fell for one of the latter.
I received an email from one of my credit card companies requesting that I verify some of my contact information. (Note, no reputable credit card company or bank will ever do this). The email had the correct company logo, and a phone number to call to verify the information. I called the number and they sounded very legit so in order to verify that it was me, for my own security, they got my information: social security number, date of birth, password, account number, the whole enchilada. The more information they asked for, the less comfortable it was and it finally spooked me. In logging on to my actual account, it was obvious that this had been a fraud and I was hosed. Needless to say my next two days were spent flagging my SSN on Experian, changing all of my financial passswords and account numbers. It was a pain, but thankfully I caught it in time and there was no further damage. Another one of these arrived in my email box a couple of days ago and it seemed like a good time to share. It looked llike this:
This time there are obvious anomalies with the URL, and no Wells Fargo logo. Bottom line is that a bank will never ask you for this information. I didn’t even open the link as it might have contained some sort of phishing software.
Another type that has been circulating is the “shock announcement.” There were two announcements that my Verizon bill was ready, and that the total was $937 or $952, depending on the email. The purposes of these are not readily apparent, but never open any of the links on any suspected emails. Three things made these emails immediately suspicious:
- The emails were addressed to about twenty other people in the header, all with the same email URL.
- The two emails to me had different amounts
- I have never had an account with Verizon.
There is another type of “shock announcement” again just looking for you to panic and click on their link:
This one claimed to have taken $451 out of my bank account, but that somehow the transaction might not show up for a few days. Instead of panicking this time, the bank was called and there was no transaction with PayPal. It has been two weeks, and nothing did ever show up.
The bottom line is this: If you get one of these things, don’t open it. Don’t click on any of the links. Log on to your account yourself; do not respond to anything over the email. Don’t store your account information on your computer, you are far safer and less likely to get ripped off if you write it on a sheet of paper and keep it in your desk drawer.