Scam artists use clever schemes to defraud millions of people around the globe each year. Being on guard online can help you maximize the benefits of the internet and minimize your chance of being defrauded. Learn how to recognize common scams and what you can do to avoid them. The information below is courtesy of On Guard Online, a government website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online. Visit On Guard Online for more information.
Account Activation Text Scam
Fraudulent text messages are being used to obtain personal information. Do not respond to a text message or call a phone number to reactivate a credit, debit, or payment card. When this is necessary, you will receive a letter in the mail or an HNB employee will call you personally. You will only receive a text message if you enroll in text alerts through NetTeller online banking.
Account Hijacking & Identity Theft
Criminals use deceptive emails and/or fake websites to make you believe you need to update usernames, passwords, and account numbers. If you get an email instructing you to change any personal information, never follow the links in the email. Go to the institutions website and complete the necessary information from that page. Criminals may also use spyware to hijack your information. The spyware can be loaded onto a personal computer when certain links are clicked or certain emails are opened. The spyware then collects certain information from the computer like usernames, passwords, and accounts numbers. Never open an email or click on a link unless you are certain about the sender. Always keep your anti-virus software and anti-malware programs up-to-date.
Reverse PIN Myth
Despite internet circulated claims, since 2006, emergency PIN technologies have never been deployed to any ATMs. Claims stated that anyone being robbed at an ATM could simply enter his or her PIN in reverse to summon help. This is NOT TRUE.
The summer heat wave is blasting people across the country, but don’t let your fried brain trick you into believing a new scam spreading across the country. For example, Dayton Power & Light in Ohio says customers have been calling in to report a trickster who’s telling people President Obama will pay their utility bills as part of a bailout plan. The scammers are asking people to register for the program, and provide personal and financial information in the process. The whole thing is a sham, says DP&L, according to the Dayton Daily News. Other reports of such scams have been popping up elsewhere, including New Jersey, California, Wisconsin, Florida and many other states.
“The scammers are simply fishing for personal information as part of the identity theft fraud. Unfortunately, many victims received forwarded emails or text messages from friends and family,” said DP&L spokeswoman Lesley Sprigg. “The scam uses email, Twitter, phone calls and even door-to-door visits. Sometimes, utility customers are asked to provide the number on the back of their Social Security cards. It is a way to get Social Security numbers, bank account or routing numbers to use in identity theft.”
The scammer is assuring targets that the bills will be paid off, and have even been providing a bogus confirmation numbers. Victims are realizing soon enough that no, the bill has not been paid, and yes, they still must pay it. And in the process, scammers are stealing money from victims’ bank accounts using the personal information.
As always, never give out personal information like a Social Security Number or bank account numbers over the phone from anyone who calls you. DP&L says anyone getting a call from someone claiming to be part of the program or claiming to be from DP&L should hang up and call the utility’s customer service number at 800-433-8500. If you’re in another state, make sure to contact your utility company as well.
Don’t fall for ‘Obama will pay electric bill scam,’ warns DP&L [Dayton Daily News]
Thousands of Americans fall victim to utility payment scam [Associated Press]
When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing. Don’t reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. It isn’t. Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.
Test your knowledge of Phishing Scams with a game!
Common Online Scams
Scammers use email, online ads, pop ups, and search results to trick you into sending them money and personal information. One way to outsmart them? Use your email’s spam filter to screen the email you get. Then forward any email that seems suspicious to email@example.com.
Weight Loss Claims
Lotteries and Sweepstakes Scams
Fake Check Scams
Mystery Shopper Scams
Bogus Apartment Rentals
Debt Relief Scams
Pay-in-Advance Credit Offers
The “Nigerian” Email Scam