The Internet is a double-edged sword: it offers a ton of convenience but also a way for identity thieves to take advantage of you. Today, we’re sharing three phishing scams you should be on the lookout for.
Keep reading to learn more about email phishing, romance scams, and PayPal phishing texts.
Email Phishing Scams
Emailing phishing scams occur when scammers disguise fraudulent messages as official notices from a financial institution, credit card company, or another source.
Conartists use these professional-looking emails to convince you to hand over your personal information or download malware.
Links in the email can do one of two things:
- Direct you to a phony website that asks you to provide your personal information, or
- Send you to malware infected websites used to put viruses on your computer.
How can you spot these fraudulent emails?
First, know this: any email that requests your personal information or sends you to a website that requests this information is most likely fraudulent–especially if it threatens dire consequences if you don’t comply.
Another tell-tale sign is a mismatched or phony URL. You can identify these URLs by hovering over the link in the email with your cursor. Do not click on the link!
If the hover-link does not match the website of the sender or if the URL is misspelled, the email is fraudulent.
Bottom line: never click on links in emails that seem fishy. And never provide your personal information via email.
Related–Email Phishing and Identity Theft: What You Should Know
Did you know that romance scams have seen a 50 percent increase since 2019?
But what are they, exactly?
According to the ABA Banking Journal, a typical romance scam looks something like this: the scammer uses stolen photos from the Internet to create fake personas on online dating platforms and social media sites in order to manipulate their victims into sending money.
“Last year, consumers reported losing a record $304 million to romance scams, with a median loss of $2,500 reported to the FTC, more than 10 times higher than the median loss for all other types of fraud,” the Journal reported.
The Journal noted that online romance scammers will:
- Profess love quickly and/or claim to be overseas for business or military service.
- Ask for money and lure you off the dating site or social media platform.
- Claim to need money for an emergency, such as hospital bills or travel.
- Plan to visit but can’t due to an emergency.
The ABA reports that most romance scam victims sent money to their scammers via wire transfer or gift cards, and that people aged 40-69 were most likely to report losing money to romance scams.
“People aged 40 to 69 were the most likely to report losing money to romance scams, and people 70 and older reported the highest individual median losses at $9,475,” The Journal reported.
Consumers reported most often sending money to romance scammers by wire transfer or gift cards, with reports of gift cards used to pay scammers rising almost 70 percent since 2019.
Bottom line: Never give money to someone you’ve recently met online.
Paypal Phishing Texts
This new scam attempts to steal your account credentials and other personal information that can be used for identity theft.
Here’s how it works:
Traditionally, when PayPal detects suspicious activity on your account, the account will have its status set to “limited,” which puts temporary restrictions on withdrawing, sending, or receiving funds.
This new phishing scam sends a phony PayPal text that states your account has been compromised and will be permanently limited unless you verify your account information by tapping on the provided link.
If you click on the link, you’ll be directed to a phishing page that asks you to log in to your account.
If you do, the credentials you entered will be sent to the scammers. Then, the phishing page goes a step further by asking you to provide your name, date of birth, address, bank details, and more.
The collected information is then used to steal your identity and gain access to other accounts.
If you received this text and mistakenly logged into your account or provided other information, you should:
- Immediately change your PayPal password.
- If you use that password for other websites, change your passwords there as well.
Bottom line: Never click on texted links that claim your account has been compromised. Instead, log in to your account using a secure connection to confirm that your account is in order.
To Sum It Up
- Email phishing occurs when scammers disguise messages as official notices from a financial institution, credit card company, or another source.
- Never click on links in emails that seem fishy. And never provide your personal information via email.
- Romance scams occur when a con artist uses stolen photos from the Internet to create fake personas on online dating platforms and social media sites in order to manipulate their victims into sending them money.
- Never give money to someone you’ve recently met online.
- A new PayPal text message phishing scam sends a phony text claiming to be PayPal that states your account has been compromised and permanently limited unless you verify your account information by tapping on a link.
- Never click on texted links that claim your account has been compromised. Instead, log in to your account using a secure connection to confirm that your account is in order.
Remember: Persons Banking Company will never ask you to provide your personal information via text or email.
If you receive a message from Persons Banking Company that seems fraudulent, please let us know by giving us a call at (877) 753-9224.