Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Email Holiday Shopping Scams

Scammers are taking advantage of the holiday shopping rush with fake emails that appear to be confirming an order. The Better Business Bureau has issued a scam alert advising consumers to watch out for these emails as they begin their holiday shopping.

The scam works like this: You receive an email message that appears to be about a recent purchase you made online. The email seems to come from a major retailer-- Walmart, Home Depot and Target were among those named in the phone emails-- and says that your purchase is ready for pick up or has been shipped. Even if you don't remember ordering anything from the store, scammers apparently are counting on your curiosity being aroused. 

But the BBB warns not to give in to the temptation to click on the link to read the details of your order. If you do, you'll find that it isn't information about your “order.” It's really a virus that will download to your computer. Typically, these viruses phish for personal and bankininformation on your machine.
Here's the bureau's advice on how to spot and avoid an email scam:

- Watch for look-alike URLs. Be wary of sites that have the brand name as a subdomain of another URL (i.e. brandname.scamwebsite.com) or part of a longer URL (i.e. companynamecustomersupport.com.)

- Hover over URLs in emails to reveal their true destination. Scammers can make links appear to lead
to a legitimate website, when they really point to a scam site, like the examples above.

- Watch for typos and bad grammar. Scammers can easily copy a brand's logo and colors, but their poor writing usually gives the email away as a scam.

- Call the store. When in doubt, call the business's customer support line to check the legitimacy of the email. Be sure to find the phone number on your bill or by typing the company name into your browser directly. Don't rely on any information contained in the email you suspect is a scam.

If you feel you have been a victim of an internet or email scam, contact your local police department. Other sources of information and support are available by calling the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida’s Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-866- 413-5337, or the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800- 962-2873 (1-800- 96ABUSE). Every five seconds a person over the age of 60 is abused in some way in the United States. Please use care, caution and vigilance to prevent abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

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