Summer is here and boy, is it hot! And unfortunately, so are the scams so let’s ensure we are not victims to “free/just click or call,” or “family member is out of country/in trouble” or “your credit card may have been used/click or call to confirm.” All of these are hooks to get us to reach out and then the identify theft or loss of funds begins.
Let’s look at some recent examples to stay on high alert
Examples of email scams—Hot spots
The Federal Trade Commission continues to provide ongoing alerts of deadly scams.
With the high cost of car rentals, the scammers have started a new hustle. Scammers are posing as rental car companies, setting up their own website and advertising fake customer service phone numbers, all to convince travelers they are legit. Then they are asking people to prepay for the rental with a gift card or prepaid debit card. ALERT! Never pay for anything with a prepaid card, it is just giving the scammers your money. When in doubt, do a web search for the company with key words like scam, complaint or review. Always report any potential scam directly to the FTC at consumer.ftc.gov/articles/paying-scammers-gift-cards.
As reported earlier this year, the ‘Your order has been successfully placed’ email scam from “Amazon” continues. A recent scam had all the looks as if it came from Amazon. The email address was suspect: firstname.lastname@example.org. Yet, there were many details about the laptop that was ordered, invoice number, shipping address and call this number if questions.
If the number was called, they immediately start asking what credit card was used so they can further research the potential fraudulent purchase. ALERT! Never give out your credit card to anyone you don’t know and trust.
It gets better as now the scammers are doing follow up emails titled: “Recent charges to your account. We believe an unauthorized party may have accessed your account. To protect your information do the below. Contact Customer Service to protect your account.” ALERT! Never provide your account number, your password (so it can be disabled) or any other personal information. Email address was suspect: Amazon Info@nortonstore.store.
Finally, if you think you have had a charge on your credit card that is in error, immediately contact your credit card company. Never call the number the scammers have provided.
Other summer scams — not new but still present
- IRS Assistance Program email: email@example.com Check your eligibility for Tax Free and learn how to make the IRS write off your tax debt. Just call us….
- Family emergency. This one is especially hard as a call is made regarding a loved one, usually a grandchild, who is away at school/traveling and has had an accident or another traumatic situation. The loved one’s friend is calling on behalf of your loved one and is asking for your help immediately. The hustle continues as the loved one needs $500 to get out of jail or to get home and don’t tell anyone as the loved one is embarrassed. Always call the loved one immediately or another family member to confirm. Never send any money or gift cards. (consumer.ftc.gov/articles/scammers-use-fake-emergencies-steal-your-money)
Golden rules remain as important as always:
- Never give your personal information to anyone.
- Never click or go to a link unless you requested the information or reference from a trusted source.
- Never return a call or answer a call from an unknown number.
- Always read the email address and when in doubt, do a search for credibility.
- Always report any fraud to the Federal Trade Commission/FTC. Be sure to sign up to get your free alerts or to file a complaint, go to http://www.ftc.gov/complaint or call 202-322-2222
HOT UPDATE: We have a date for the Medicare 101, Social Security Benefits and Assistance for Senior Boot Camp: Saturday, Nov. 20, 8:30 a.m. –12:30 p.m. at the CSI Fine Arts building. All the fun related topics will be included and open to all ages. More to come but save the date! Our community outreach is back! Masks will be available. Fingers crossed for a healthy fall!
Day Egusquiza is the president and founder of the Patient Financial Navigator Foundation Inc. — an Idaho-based family foundation. For more information, call 208-423-9036 or go to pfnfinc.com. Do you have a topic for Health Care Buzz? Please share at firstname.lastname@example.org.