Always be wary of unexpected emails, calls, or text messages that ask for personal information. Many of these communications are from imposters masquerading as trustworthy businesses and organizations. They are “phishing” for your Social Security or Social Insurance number, passwords, credit card information, or other personal details for use in identity theft. Don’t take the bait!
How the Scam Works:
Con artists have a creative array of cover stories to disguise their true intentions. Phishing messages typically use one of three methods to fool victims: 1) the message promises a reward (a gift card, free item); 2) threatens a punishment (unpaid taxes, missed jury duty, deactivated bank account); or, 3) appears entirely mundane (a file from the office scanner).
Phishing scams tend to follow a pattern. The victim receives an email, phone call or text message, called “smishing” or SMS phishing. In the communication, the scammer urges the target to download malware, click a link, or share information. In the case of an email or text, the link frequently leads to a form, which prompts the target to enter personal information.
Tips to Spot This Scam:
To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.
To learn how to protect yourself, go to “10 Steps to Avoid Scams”.
Last Reviewed: March 7, 2017