Don't be Fooled - Scams to Avoid

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Phishing Scams To Avoid In 2019

At one time or another we have all received a random call, text, or email from someone trying to get money or information from you.  Phishing Scams are a reality of our time.  Here are some of the most common scams for 2019 to be aware of. 

The Netflix Email
If you get a very authentic-looking email from Netflix that says they’re having difficulty billing you and asks you to update your payment details via a link, don't click the link. Scammers could be trying to steal your information or the link could install malware on your computer. Netflix has posted online that these emails are not coming from them. Any email from Netflix will come from info@mail.netflix.com.

Any Email or Phone Call From The IRS
IRS scams are the most common scams that occur during tax time, and you need to be extra careful to avoid them. 

The thing to remember here is the IRS will NEVER call to demand immediate payment without having previously mailed a bill. If anyone claiming to be the IRS threatens you with law enforcement, asks for specific payment methods (like Walmart gift cards), or asks for your payment information over the phone — just hang up the pnone. It’s not the IRS. If you receive a call or email that seems suspicious, do not give them any information or open any links or attachments in the email.

Purchase Confirmations From Amazon Or Apple
Scammers are hitting consumers with emails that appear to come from Amazon or Apple confirming purchases and include a link to view purchase information. Clicking these links can install malware on your computer or ask you to log in so they can steal your information. If you receive a purchase confirmation but did not buy anything, don’t click the link.  Even if you did order something, you may be better off to visit Amazon or Apple's websites to confirm these purchases yourself.

Suspicious Text Messages
"Smishing," or phishing attacks conducted via SMS have become more popular in recent years. In a smishing attack, you will receive a text message asking you to click a link or call a phone number. When you click the link or call the number provided, your data will be siphoned off and your devices will become vulnerable to data loss and financial theft.  It may be best to just delete any text from someone unfamiliar. 

Wire Transfers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             In this digital world, money is often being transferred between bank accounts digitally.  Especially with large transaction such as purchasing a home.  Scammers are getting access to the transfer information through hacked email accounts.  They send you new instructions which have you unknowingly transferring the money to their accounts.  Always call and verify the instructions and account numbers with the parties with whom you are working with to make sure the email you received contains the correct information.     

Phone Calls About Loved Ones                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Probably the most stressful call you could get would be one saying your loved one has been kidnapped or even a call sounding like a loved on the phone one saying they need you to send them money right away. They may be in some kind of trouble or in an accident.  As hard as it may be in that moment you should try buy yourself some time to try contact the loved one on another line.  Ask questions that only that person could know.  

Sending Over Payment for Something and Requesting a Refund of the Balance                                                                                                                            Another popular scam occurs when you are selling something or perhaps a rental of some sort. There are several versions of this scam going around.  These clever scammers will send you payment, usually in the form of a business or company check to make is seem more legitimate. .  They will say they are out of the country, moving or some other story. Unfortunately their partner, spouse or secretary sent the wrong amount.  The instructions can come in the form of a text, email, or even a letter.  They will say go ahead and cash the check and refund the rest of the money.  You should either send the check back and decline the transaction, or if you do deposit the check, contact the back and wait until the check completely clears before you send back any money or you relinquish any items that they may be  purchasing. These people are masters of excuses, explanations, and stories all sounding very convincing and plausible.  

The best rule of thumb is to never send anyone money unless you have confirmed their information. 

Do not click on a link for something that does not sound familiar. 

Do not get gift cards for payment of anything.  No legitimate company will ask you to make a payments using using gift cards.     

Do not give out personal information over the phone or to anyone you do not know. 

Do not give out your credit card information to anyone over the phone who called you.  Ask them to send you something in the mail. Or if you think you owe someone money, call them yourself from a phone number that you have verified belongs to that company.     

If it sounds suspicious, It probably is!