Cybercriminals try to trick you into giving them personal information through an email, a phone call/voicemail, or a text message. Here is how you can spot a scammer:
- It’s a business or sender you don’t recognize
- There are unfamiliar links or attachments asking you to click on something. Never click on an unfamiliar link or attachment!
- There are misspelled words and poor grammar.
- They use scare tactics and urgent language.
- They use subject lines that don’t make sense.
- They use generic greetings, such as “Hello” or “Dear Sir/Madam” and not your name.
A common scam is when the caller/emailer is claiming to be a legitimate company. There was a recent story where people received phone calls from someone claiming to be from ComEd. They said that the person did not make their current payment and the power is going to be turned off. To stay current, the customer is told they can make a payment through Zelle. However, ComEd does not accept payments through Zelle. This is a scam to acquire a debit card number.
There are also similar email phishing scams where the scammer poses as Amazon, Microsoft, or some other well-known company. The email states to call a number or else they will be charged a fee for a specific dollar amount. The scammers try to convince you to grant them access to their computers.
If you see an email in your inbox and think it’s a scam, you can always hover over the sender’s name to see their email address. Many times, the name is close, often just changing one letter, symbol, or number, to try to convince you that you are interacting with a trusted source. Other times, it could just be random words or numbers. When in doubt, call the legitimate company before opening the email.
To learn more about scams and current fraud trends, please visit the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.ftc.gov.