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Published: Jan 23, 2019

New Year, New Scams

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As our world is ever evolving, so are the scams in it. We’ve rounded up a few new scams to keep your eye on.

Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams can appear in a variety of ways, but the main premise is typically a scammer contacts you and diagnoses a non-existent problem on your device. The scammer will likely charge a fee to “fix” the issue and may even go as far as installing malicious software onto your computer.

If you receive a suspicious pop-up on your device, don’t click on it, and close the program in which the pop-up originated. Note that it is very unlikely that Apple, Microsoft, or any other technology company will contact you directly about an issue with your computer. Additionally, only work with a trusted source when diagnosing computer issues and exercise caution if someone asks to control your computer remotely.

Lower Your Rate Scams
This scam is often in the form of a phone call from an unnamed institution. The scammer will simply say they are able to lower your credit card rate, without providing any details about the account such as the type of card or the name they have on file for the card. During this phone call, the scammer will try to obtain your personal information, hoping you will be too distracted by the excitement of a lower rate to ask too many questions or raise suspicion. Scammers may also use this same scheme pretending to your utilities company, your student loan provider, or a variety of other billing companies.

IRS Scams
IRS scams are similar to the “lower your rate” scams, but instead rely on fear tactics. The scammer will impersonate the IRS and claim you owe the IRS money, pressuring you to pay soon “or else.”

For both “Lower Your Rate” and IRS scams, the best plan of action is to contact the institution directly to find out more information.

Shipping Status Scams
As online shopping continues to steadily grow in popularity, so do the scam attempts.

Phishing attempts can be found in the form of a fraudulent message from a scammer posing as an online retailer claiming your order has arrived or providing a shipping status of a package, when you haven’t actually ordered anything. The scammer is hoping curiosity will take over and you will click the malicious link they have provided.

Payment Declined Scams
With the “Payment Declined” scam, the scammer will send a message stating your payment has been declined for a common subscription service such as Netflix. In the message, the scammer will provide a link to a website that looks very similar to the legitimate website hoping that you will enter your payment information.
If you receive a suspicious or unexpected message about a purchase, do not use any of the links or contact information the message has provided. Instead, research this information and contact the vendor directly or visit the website in a separate browser.

Porting Scams
This scam targets a weakness in two-factor authentication. The scammer uses your phone number and any additional personal information they have obtained. The scammer then contacts your phone service provider, pretending to be you, and asks to switch your phone number to a new mobile device. The scammer will then attempt to hack into various personal accounts by using two-factor authentication by having “Forgot Password?” information messaged to the phone number being used by the new device.

Exercise caution when providing your phone number and contact your phone service provider to see if there are extra layers of security that can be added to your account.

Stay up to date with the latest information about scams and how to protect yourself by visiting MSUFCU’s website, mobile app, and social media pages.