Email scams are typically phishing scams that will use email to trick you into giving them your personal information and maliciously using your information to commit fraud.
Scammers can easily lift our logo from online and create emails that look like they are from legitimate company or organization, so be sure to take the following action:
If the email is alerting you to a purchase you made or a problem with an account, contact the business or organization directly by phone. You should also check your account directly to confirm the suspected activity. For example, if you get an email from Amazon confirming a purchase you did not make, don’t respond to the email. Simply log directly into your Amazon account to confirm the purchase. Chances are, you’ll see nothing was actually purchased.
If you get an email indicating your account was compromised and you need to log in or confirm a password, this may also be a phishing attempt to obtain your login information. You should avoid logging into accounts via links sent in emails like this. If you are concerned the account security threat is legitimate, log into the account through the website’s main login page and change your password from there.
Smishing, short for short message service (SMS) phishing, is a relatively new scam that attempts to trick mobile phone users into giving scammers personal information.
Smishing can be used for identity theft, via a text or SMS message. Scammers like smishing, as consumers tend to be more inclined to trust text messages.
Most organizations will only text you if you’ve signed up to receive communications this way. If you do not recognize the sender's phone number, take the following precautions:
Scammers try to gain access to your computer and online accounts by posing as tech security/IT professionals. These scams often begin with a popup ad indicating some subscription has been renewed or canceled, or that your computer security is compromised. If you follow the link or call the listed number, you are connected to a person who may claim to be from McAfee Security, Microsoft, Apple or another recognized security brand.
The scammer will then try to pressure you into allowing remote access to your computer, where they can access all your online information/accounts/login credentials.
Other online scams typically revolve around person-to-person sales. Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are common venues used by scammers, or you may find yourself on a fraudulent website. If you plan on making purchases or sending money for person-to-person sales, take every step possible to ensure the sellers are legitimate.
Common scams online include:
Beware of callers who use high pressure tactics to get you to make an immediate payment. You may be directed to transfer funds electronically, sometimes through money wiring systems, apps like Zelle or CashApp, or pre-paid cards.
These pre-paid cards have unique serial numbers that the scammer uses to transfer and steal the funds. You may also be asked by a scammer to make a same-day payment at a retail location to avoid action.
Spoofing technology can show that the call is coming from any organization when the call is actually from a scammer, so be alert to aggressive tactics. If the call begins with an area code rather than 800, be suspicious, but scammers can also use phone numbers beginning with 800.
Common phone call scams include:
Door-to-door scams are less common than they used to be, but they still happen. The scammer will knock on your door and offer to sell you a product or service but they are actually looking to take your money and/or personal information.
Be alert to anyone who shows up at your home and uses high pressure tactics to demand immediate payment to avoid action. Scammers can try to appear legitimate by carrying a tools, a walkie-talkie, or wearing official gear. If you suspect anything, ask to see their company ID. You can also contact that company directly to confirm.
If anyone visits your home or property without proper identification, you can ask that person to leave. Call 911 immediately if you are in danger.