Scams are like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole – they keep popping up.
Our mission here at DailyMail.com is straightforward: To equip you with the know-how you need to be scam-smart, not scam-sorry.
Here are three phone scams increasing in popularity across the United States destined to hit your hometown:
Here are three phone scams increasing in popularity across the United States destined to hit your hometown
1. The delivery text setup
You get a text that appears to be from the USPS.
‘Click here,’ it says, ‘Your package can’t be delivered until you update your address.’
It doesn’t have to be the holiday rush for you to be expecting packages.
That’s why scammers impersonating USPS are so dangerous.
They text you a link to update your address, or your parcel will be in limbo.
To make you act quickly, there’s a sense of urgency.
If you accidentally click on the link, hackers can download malicious software onto your device
When you click the link, you could be hit with a site asking for your personal information or login credentials, including your password.
● No link, no problem: Real USPS notifications won’t pester you with unsolicited links.
● Guard your info: Protect your personal data like a lioness fiercely, and without hesitation, protects her cubs.
● Login to confirm: If you’re in doubt, go to the official site where you purchased the item. Sign into your account and check your orders. You’ll usually find a tracking number there.
If you accidentally click on the link, hackers can download malicious software onto your device.
Once installed, the malicious code can scan your device for sensitive information (like your bank account or credit card numbers), spy on you, or encrypt your device and demand payment to unlock it.
2. Gas station skimmer alerts
Currently trending in Colorado, this one comes as an email warning you about credit card skimmers targeting victims at local gas stations.
Colorado State Patrol issued an alert last month, assuring the public that the emails are fake and urging them not to click any links.
Colorado State Patrol issued an alert last month, assuring the public that the emails are fake and urging them not to click any links
The subject line of these emails typically reads ‘WARNING: Recent Contactless Payment Processors Scam.’
The body of the message lists names of gas stations that have allegedly been compromised.
All you need to do is click their nefarious link to determine if a nearby station is affected.
Do that, and you might be hit with malware, keyloggers or worse.
● Just delete: Treat these emails like any other piece of junk in your life — trash it immediately.
● Inspect before you swipe: Always eyeball payment terminals. Scammers often install physical skimmers that can grab your card info.
● Pay inside: If something seems off, pay inside where it’s generally safer. Also, skimmers are less likely to be placed in full view of the gas station’s employees.
Knowledge is your best shield against the world’s con artists and digital thieves. You’ve got to be a hawk—always alert and ever-vigilant. Pass this along to family and friends because there’s no such thing as being too prepared.
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3. Your day in court
Police in several cities, including Amarillo, Texas, are warning about this clever scam. Your phone rings and the caller ID says it’s the police.
The ominous 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.
The caller says you can settle the whole thing over the phone and pay the fine.
They may ask you to send the money through BitCoin or gift cards or use an app like Venmo.
● Always question: Legitimate law enforcement agencies operate by the book, which doesn’t include handling legal fines over a phone call.
● Caller ID can be faked: Scammers are masters at spoofing caller IDs to make it appear that an official organization is calling.
● Research and report: If you’re suspicious, look up the official contact for the local police and call them directly to verify any claims.
● Gift cards? Scammers often ask for payment via gift cards, Bitcoin or cash apps. Your local police won’t ever ask for these payment methods.
New Jersey Attorney General Josh Stein shared: ‘Know that jury summonses and failure to appear notices will be delivered to your home via postal mail.
‘Law enforcement officers or government officials will not call and threaten you with arrest or fines for failing to appear for jury service.’
Is it legit? How to check phone numbers against known scam lists
When your phone rings and an unfamiliar number flashes on the screen, caution should be your watchword. Don’t hit that ‘answer’ button just yet. Instead, here’s how to determine whether to take the call or dodge a bullet.
Search Sites are Your Friend: Type the phone number into Google, Bing, or Yahoo in quotation marks for a precise match. Results often include websites, forums, or consumer complaint boards where that number may have been reported.
Specialized Scam Hunters: ScamNumbers.info is a crowd-sourced site where people report scammy numbers. Remember, new scam numbers emerge daily, so a clean bill today doesn’t guarantee it’ll be scam-free tomorrow.
Report to the FTC: If you’re getting calls from a number you suspect is spam, you can help stop it. File a report at reportfraud.ftc.gov. You’re not just saving yourself from future hassle but also flagging the number for others. Think of it as community service.
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