The recent derailment of a train carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil had Governor Tomblin declaring a state of emergency in Kanawha and Fayette counties. Unfortunately, this also could mean an increase in scam artists using the accident and environmental tragedy to lure unsuspecting victims.
"Scammers love to take advantage of the hype surrounding major news stories and consumer's willingness to help those in need", says BBB President Frank Cilona.
Possible scams to watch for:
Click Bait Scams: In addition to impersonating victims or family members on Facebook, con artists also post teasers for "sensational" video footage relating to the event. Click the link, and you may be prompted to "update the video player" or take a survey before viewing. Either action may download malware on your computer to open you up to identity theft or give scammers information (such as email addresses and cell phone numbers) they can sell to spammers.
Phishing emails: Emails that appear to be from well known, established companies, such as the Red Cross, will look official and will ask for your help. The email will instruct you to either click on a link or open an attachment, which will either download malware to your computer or leads you to a form that phishes for information. Malware hunts for confidential or banking information on your machine and could open you and your company up to identity theft.
Take the following steps to protect yourself and others from scam link shared through email and social media:
Charity Scams - Since scammers often focus on emotional appeals or disaster in the news, be wary of any solicitations using the phone, face-to-face contact, email, the internet (including social networking sites), and mobile devices to obtain donations.
Avoid any charity fundraiser that:
Start With Trust. For reliable information, visit www.bbb.org or call 1-800-362-0494.
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For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, contact Kimberly Thompson at 330-454-9401.