As the holidays approach, please stay vigilant and don’t fall victim. Scams are a never-ending story.
The Delivery Text Setup
You receive a text message that appears to be from USPS, with a link in the text that says, “Click here, your package can’t be delivered until you update your address.” If you click the link, you’ll asked to enter some personal information or login credentials, including your password. From there, hackers can download malicious software onto your device that can scan for sensitive information, like bank account info or credit and debit card numbers, spy on your activities, or encrypt your phone and demand payment to unlock it.
Things to know:
- The USPS won’t text you with unsolicited links.
- When in doubt, go to the site where you ordered your items and check your order status there.
- Always protect your personal data. Don’t log into a site you don’t recognize.
Gas Station Skimmer Alerts
Currently trending in Colorado, but likely to show up elsewhere too, you will receive an email that looks like it is from a trusted authority warning about a scam where hackers are drilling holes in contactless payment screens to force users to swipe their cards for payment. The email warns that if you swipe your card, your information will be stolen. The email also includes a link where you can find out which stations in your area have been impacted. But here’s the twist…the email itself is fake. If you click on the link to check out the list of gas stations, you could be hit with malware, keyloggers or worse.
Things to consider:
- Treat these emails as if they’re junk and delete immediately.
- Pay attention before you swipe. Scammers install terminal card skimmers all the time that give them immediate access your card info.
- If something seems off at the terminal, go inside to pay where it’s generally safer.
Your Day in Court
This scam starts with a phone call that your caller ID will identify as the police. The voice on the other end says you’re in big trouble for skipping a court appearance, and there’s a warrant out for your arrest. They then offer to settle the whole thing over the phone if you pay a fine, and offer to let you pay via Bitcoin, with gift cards, or with cash apps like Venmo.
- Legitimate law enforcement agencies won’t handle legal fines over the phone.
- Caller ID can be faked, and scammers can spoof it to make it appear like they’re calling from an official organization.
- Contact your local police directly to verify any claims.
- Your local police would never ask for payment via gift cards and cash apps.
In summary, think twice before you click on a link sent to your phone, don’t provide any personal information, and never make any weird payments over the phone.
Scammers won’t stop so don’t get caught.