Like a good thriller, phishing scams work best when they’re carefully crafted to exploit your fears. That’s why scams that threaten to lock your email, freeze your bank account or “expose” embarrassing videos are so effective.
Bad actors are always looking for new ways to trick us. Look out for these phishing scams coming soon to your inbox:
Threat of Coronavirus
The worldwide spread of the new Coronavirus is being used by bad guys to scare people into clicking on links, opening malicious attachments, or giving out confidential information. Be careful with anything related to the Coronavirus. That includes emails, attachments, any social media, and texts on your phone. Look out for topics like:
- Check updated Coronavirus map in your city
- Coronavirus infection warning from local school district
- CDC or World Health Organization emails or social media Coronavirus messaging
- Keeping your children safe from Coronavirus
- You might even get a scam phone call to raise funds for "victims".
There will be a number of scams related to this, so be careful!
Confirm Your Credit Card Purchase
Credit card scams have been around for a long time, but this new one is particularly convincing.
Here’s how it works:
- The email appears to come from one of two well-known credit card companies, either American Express or Chase.
- The email includes a list of credit card transactions, and you’re asked to confirm or deny whether the transactions are valid.
- If you click the “No, I do not recognize the transactions” link, you’re brought to a fake login page that looks very similar to the credit card company’s actual login page.
Don’t fall for this trick! If you submit your login details, your information is immediately sent to the scammers and your account and your identity will be at risk.
The IRS Wants You
It’s tax season, so beware of IRS impersonation emails that demand immediate payment or detailed personal data.
- Remember, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
- Do not click on or respond to emails claiming to be from the IRS that come from out of the blue.
- Never share personal data, including W-2 information, with an unconfirmed recipient.
Remember These Tips
- When you’re checking email, SLOW DOWN and make your default attitude “don’t click” unless you’re convinced the email is legitimate.
- Don’t trust links in an email you weren’t expecting.
- When you receive an email asking you to log in to an account or online service that you use, log in to your account through your browser–not through links in the email. This way, you can ensure you’re logging into the real website and not a phony look-alike.
- If an email appears to be from someone you know with an unusual link or request, pick up the phone and call that person to confirm. If it’s real, you’ll know for sure it’s safe. If it isn’t, you’ll be glad you checked.
- If any email looks questionable, just delete it and move on with your day.
A final note: do not reuse passwords. If you use the same password for multiple accounts and one gets hacked, they’re all at risk of being hacked.
Get your thrills at the movies and not at the office. Don’t hide behind the chainsaws - that never ends well. When you’re checking your email, take your time, be smart, and don’t click!