By Kelly Sargent
Honest to goodness, this happened to me yesterday! In my case, however, it was an expensive printer instead of an iPhone. But whether it's an iPhone or a printer, here's how the scam works.
An email pops in notifying you that your Amazon, credit card or bank account has been charged many hundreds of dollars for an iPhone or some other piece of pricey equipment, and careful guardians of your account that they are, they're protecting you by checking to make sure you actually purchased whatever it was. Obviously you're extremely alarmed because you didn't purchase anything of that description for so much money.
There's a number to call to verify the purchase or cancel it, and you're extremely grateful for the catch. . . but it's a scam. They're banking — quite literally — that you'll call, where you'll be connected to an extremely helpful customer service representative who says they can fix the problem. They just need to verify your bank account or credit card number.
Fortunately, I'm onto these phishing scams. First and most foremost, I did NOT open the email. I knew what the premise was because the "notification" about my account being charged was in the subject line. Next I checked with my husband Paul to make sure he hadn't purchased a printer. Then I trashed the email without opening it.
Here's advice from the Better Business Bureau:
Double check the sender’s email address. Phishing emails are usually designed to look like they come from a reputable source like your bank or Amazon. But look closely at the sender’s email to see if it’s really from an official source.
Check your bank for charges first. If the charge isn’t there, it’s likely a scam. Don’t contact the scammers. Erase the email and block the sender.
Never click on suspicious links. It’s best not to click on links in unsolicited emails you receive from unknown senders. These links could download malware onto your computer or mobile device, making you vulnerable to identity theft.
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