By Erin Tucker
Whenever there’s a calamity — local, regional or national, there will always be scam artists intent on taking advantage of people who have been impacted by preying on their misfortune and fear.
Recently, the Better Business Bureau issued a report citing numerous cases of scammers impersonating representatives of high-profile companies, offering COVID-themed discounts.
Here’s how the scam runs:
You receive a text message from a large, reputable company. The message claims that due to the pandemic, the company would like to help people by offering them a deal. They range from free or discounted services to gift cards and cash
Below are two fake offers the BBB listed that unsuspecting consumers have received lately.
“COVID-19 REFUND. VERIZON COMPANY is giving out $950 to all users of our Verizon service, If yes kindly text your Verizon”
“Due to the pandemic, Hulu is giving everyone a free 1-year subscription to help you stay at home. Get yours here [link].
Of course these messages don’t really originate with that company. They’re phishing attempts from con artists who are trying to steal your personal information.
If you click the link, you may be prompted to log into a lookalike website that scammers use to get hold of your login ID and password. With that information, scammers can access your accounts and even make purchases using your saved payment methods.
The latest BBB report mentions scammers impersonating Hulu, Netflix, and Verizon, but watch out texts that pretend to be from other companies too. If one name stops producing victims, these fraudsters simply use another company's name.
Here’s what the BBB recommends to avoid being taken in by text message scams
Treat messages from unknown senders with caution. If you receive a message from a number you don’t recognize, be careful. If you haven’t given a company permission to text you, it’s probably a scam.
Don’t click on links from strangers. Scammers often send shortened links that don’t let you see where they really lead in the body of their text message. If you click the link, you could be directed to a dangerous
website, or you could download malware onto your device.
Confirm deals directly with the company before you accept. If you are really hoping the deal is
legitimate, go to the company’s official website and send them an email, or call to inquire. The company can
let you know if the deal is real or not.
Install antivirus software on your computer and mobile devices. This kind of scam can come from text
messages or emails, so make sure all your electronics are protected. Antivirus software can scan for malware
and alert you before you open a malicious website link.
Tucker Law appreciates the work the Better Business Bureau does to alert consumers to potential frauds and scams. Rob and I and the rest of our staff are always here if you need us.
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