Today I wanted to round up a few scams that you may have heard of, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure they are top-of-mind or to share them with friends and relatives for their protection.
Credit card/ID theft
The Better Business Bureau of Akron is reminding consumers to report credit card or identity theft incidents that happen to them.
“With today’s sophisticated technology, motivated fraudsters and COVID-19 distractions, it’s not a matter of if you will have your identity stolen, it’s when,” said the BBB in a recent news release. “No matter who you bank with, it is quite likely scammers will get through with a charge or two on your account. Most banking institutions have fraud departments working daily to catch these thieves and alert you, as well as cancel any pending fraudulent charges on your account. However, consumers must be diligent as well. It’s important to check your accounts regularly. The sooner you can notify your bank or credit card company the better your chances are of getting the theft resolved quickly.”
The BBB said it has been brought to its attention that consumers have been posting on local blog sites about such crimes, but not reporting them. Several people have mentioned their fraudulent charges showed up on accounts after shopping locally for groceries or gas.
Here’s some steps that the BBB says you should follow, if you have been victimized:
- Contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
- Ask to have your credit or debit card shut down and request a new one.
- Report the incident to the business involved, the local authorities and to www.bbb.org/scamtracker.
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission website www.identitytheft.gov to file an FTC report and as a thorough resource and explanation of ID fraud.
- Obtain a free credit freeze with the three credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. It is NOT necessary to pay for credit monitoring services once the credit freeze is in place.
Here are tips from the BBB to minimize your exposure to this problem:
- Sign up for fraud alerts with your bank and credit card companies. Many require you to opt in to receive these, so don’t assume they are turned on.
- Many gas stations still have skimming problems as COVID-19 has slowed down the installation of required chip readers. A skimmer will send your credit card information to the scammers. Try to pay inside with a chip reader or cash.
- Monitor your accounts frequently.
- Place a free credit freeze to protect yourself.
Text delivery scams
Many of us have increased our online shopping with delivery right to our home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The local BBB is also warning of a new twist to the text message delivery notification scam.
Recent news of slowdowns with U.S. Postal Service and other carriers open the door for scammers to send text messages that look undeniably real, the BBB said. These con artists are hoping to trick you into giving your credit card information.
Here’s how it works. BBB has received many reports from consumers who have received a text that may have your name on it and a request to confirm your delivery or that a friend has ordered something for you. All you have to do is click on the link.
The BBB says to never click on a link before checking out the legitimacy of it.
When consumers reported clicking the link in the text, they were directed to a realistic-looking website where they learned they can earn an award for filling out some basic information. (After clicking the link, there is no mention of the missing package.) However, there was a catch; consumers are being told they have to pay shipping on the award. Next, there is a form to enter a credit card and that is where scammers steal consumer information or put malware on computers being used.
The fake text messages look almost exactly like the real message you may receive if you had a package on the way. BBB Scam Tracker reports similar to these have a trend of supplying a fake tracking number, leading you to believe the text is real. Before you click the link, consider if you even have a package en route to you. If you do have a package en route, you can easily call to verify any shipping preferences and the legitimacy of the text message with your retailer. Lastly, suspected phishing text messages should be deleted and be sure to block the sender.
According to USPS officials, this type of text is a phishing scheme to get personal information. USPS reminds all consumers that they will not routinely send text messages to people unless they have opted in for notification messages regarding deliveries. USPS, Amazon and FedEx have tools and guidelines on reporting scams or phishing attempts. Additionally, we always encourage you to report such scams to BBB at bbb.org/scamtracker.