Scam of the Month
Have you ever received a suspicious email? Scammers often pose as a well-known company, frequently a tech company such as Apple. The scammer will email you a phony invoice that says you’ve recently bought music or apps from the company.
The scam email tells you to click on a link “if you did not authorize the purchase.” DO NOT click the link!
This scam is an example of “phishing,” where a scammer uses fraudulent emails to get you to provide your personal information. The link may take you to a “copycat website” that looks very similar to the real company’s website, but don’t be fooled! Scammers will ask for your personal information, then use that information to commit fraud or identity theft.
When you click a phishing link, scammers can also get access to your computer or network. Once the scammer gets in, they install programs (“ransomware”) that can lock you out of your computer. Then, they demand that you pay them a “ransom” to unlock the computer.
Here are some tips to protect your personal information from phishing scams:
- Be suspicious if an email from a company or government agency asks you to click on a link! If you do click the link and the link takes you to a website that asks for your username or password or other information, do not enter your personal information! The link in the email may look right, but if you click it, you may go to a copycat website run by a scammer. Instead, type in the correct website for the company, or call the company at a phone number you know to be accurate.
- Be cautious about opening attachments. A scammer could pretend to be a friend or family member by “spoofing” your friend’s email address. Spoofing is when a scammer makes it appear that an email is coming from a familiar email address, when it is really coming from somewhere else. The scammer can pose as your friend and send you messages containing malicious programs.
- Set your computer security software to update automatically, and back up your important files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up your files regularly and use security software you trust to protect your data. That way, if a scammer gets into your computer, you will have a safe copy of all your files.
You can report phishing emails to:
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): (202) 326-2222 or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. You can also forward any suspicious emails to the FTC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): www.ic3.gov
- FL Attorney General Fraud Hotline: (866) 966-7226