How to Spot a Scam

Security

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6.14.23

How to Spot a Scam


Protect yourself from criminals who may try to steal your personal or financial information by knowing how to recognize and avoid scams.


Imposter Scam

These scammers will contact you pretending to be your financial institution, a government agency such as the IRS, Medicare or even a charitable organization and trick you into sending money or providing personal or account information. These scams can be very sophisticated and seem quite real.

Tip for spotting this scam:
Watch out for anyone reaching out to ask for personal information to verify your account or asking for payment via gift cards, wire transfers or person-to-person transfers. Legitimate companies will not call to ask for your personal information or for payment.


Urgency Scam

Urgency scams trick you into taking advantage of an unbelievable deal or collecting a prize, giving you a tight time frame in which to act. Their tone is urgent, and they want to steal your personal or financial information by asking you to do things like create an account or verify a password.

Tip for spotting this scam:
Reputable companies or organizations won’t pressure you to react with tight time constraints or countdown clocks. If an email is asking you to act fast for the deal of a lifetime or to accept a prize, take pause. Avoid clicking on any links until you verify if the email is legitimate through a secondary source.


Phishing Scam

Phishing scams are official-looking emails, text messages or social ads meant to trick you into giving your personal or financial information. Because these appear to be from your bank or other known companies, they can be very effective in tricking you into sharing information.

Tip for spotting this scam:
Look out for generic greetings, misspellings of words, grammatical errors or variations of logos or names of known companies. Avoid clicking links or downloading files as these can deliver malware to your device. Phishing scams can lead to identity theft.


Utility Scam

These scammers will call you pretending to be a service provider such as an electric company and attempt to pressure you into sending a payment to avoid having your service turned off. These scams can appear very real and are effective because the urgent tone may pressure you into acting quickly.

Tip for spotting this scam:
Utility companies will never ask you to make last-minute payments, especially over the phone or email. If making a payment over the phone, call your utility provider directly.


Support Specialist Scam

Scammers pretending to be a Technology Specialist from a known company try to steal your information by gaining access to your account or device. These scammers want to trick you into thinking that your computer or device is damaged and ask for remote access or for your account information to help you resolve the issue.​​​​​​

Tip for spotting this scam:

Support specialists from legitimate companies do not cold-call to help you fix an issue with your device or account, nor will they ask you to download an app or request access to your device.


​​​​​​​Pay Yourself Scam

This scam is often a text or an email that looks like a fraud alert from your bank asking if you authorized a transaction. If you respond, they’ll call as a bank representative offering to help you stop the alleged fraud and ask you to send money to yourself via transfer or person-to-person payment. Because they look like a real bank fraud alert and the incoming call can seem legitimate, these types of scams seem very convincing.​​​​​​​

Tip for spotting this scam:

​​​​​​​Your bank will never call you to verify information or ask you to send money to yourself or anyone. Do not give out any personal information over the phone or through email.

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