In the ongoing series on guarding against scams, this week’s segment focuses on common digital scams.
Phishing is a scam where an Internet fraudster sends an e-mail that claims to be from a business you may have a relationship with. The message asks you to “confirm”, “update”, or “verify your personal information. For example, the e-mail may ask for your account number or social security number, your online account use name or password. The e-mail may have a website link for you to visit or a telephone number fot you to call may be included in the e-mail.
Watch out for “spear” phishing attempts too. This is a spin on traditional phishing where scam artists have some inside information, such as your name or knowledge of who you do business with, which they use to seem more legitimate in their request for personal information.
Legitimate companies don’t ask for personal information via e-mail and text message.
SMiShing, similiar to phishing, is an attempt to get personal information from you. The only difference is the SmiShing attempts come in the form of text messages instead of e-mails. The message may ask that you verify or update information, or it could contain a link with a virus or other malware that the scammer wants you to download onto your mobile device.
These attempts may look like:
“You’ve won a free $100 gift card, just click here to claim!”
Do not reply to an e-mail, text, or pop-up that asks for personal or financial information.
Do not click on any links in an e-mail or text message or cut and paste the link into your browser.
Do not open any attachments or download any files from an e-mail or text message.
Do not call a phone number continued in the e-mail or text.
Use antivirus or antispyware software and a firewall. Make sure to update them regularly.
Always review your personal and financial statements carefully. Also review your credit report at least once a year. You can get your report by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling 877-322-8228. Dispute unauthorized purchases/accounts and incorrect information.
For more information www.consumer.sc.gov.