Who wouldn’t love to be that winner you see on TV holding a great big sweepstakes check? That’s what con artists are counting on when they claim to be Publishers Clearing House. This trick is an oldie but goodie for scammers.
The scam starts with a call or letter saying you’ve won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. But to collect your prize, they say, you need to send money to pay for fees and taxes. Typically you’ll be asked to send money by Western Union or MoneyGram, or by getting a reloadable card or gift card. Scammers ask you to pay these ways because it’s nearly impossible to trace the money — and you’ll almost never get it back.
But that’s not the only way scammers get your money with this scam. Some will send you a realistic-looking fake check in the mail. You’re told that, to claim your prize, you need to deposit the check and send some of the money back for made-up expenses. But when the check you deposit bounces — even after it seemed to clear, you may be on the hook for the money you sent.
If you think you’ve won a prize, here are a few things to know:
- Never send money to collect a prize, sweepstakes check, or lottery winnings. If you have to pay, it’s a scam.
- Never deposit a check and send back money, even if the funds appear in your account. That’s a sure sign of a scam.
- If anyone calls asking you to pay for a prize, hang up and report it to the FTC.
Still think this sweepstakes is real? The real Publishers Clearing House says it will never ask you to pay a fee to collect a prize.
If at any time you feel any of your First Financial accounts may have been compromised in a similar scam, contact our Member Relationship Center right away at 732.312.1500. If your First Financial credit or debit cards were compromised in a scam, call the 24/7 toll-free number on the back of your card to report the incident and replace your card. All important phone numbers for members can be found on our website: https://www.firstffcu.com/contact-us.htm
Article Source: Emma Fletcher for FTC.gov
Scammers have been relentless lately – here they are, back at it with a new twist on an old phishing scam.
Recently, scammers have been posing as well known tech companies and emailing phony invoices which show that you purchased music or apps from them. Check out our recent blog on these types of scams here. The scam emails tell you to click on a link if you did not authorize the purchase. If you get one of these emails, do NOT click on the link! This is a phishing attempt scheme.
What is phishing? When a scammer uses fraudulent emails, copycat websites, or texts to get you to share valuable information. The fraudsters then use this information to commit identity theft or other fraud in your name.
Scammers are also using phishing emails to get access to your computer or network – then they install programs like ransomware that can lock you out of important files on your computer.
Here are some tips to help keep your information secure:
- Be suspicious if a business, government agency, or organization asks you to click on a link that then asks for your username or password or other personal data. Instead, type in the web address for the organization or call them. The link in the email may look right, but if you click on it you may go to a copycat website run by a scammer.
- Be cautious about opening attachments. A scammer could even pretend to be a friend or family member, sending messages with malware from a spoofed account.
- Set your security software to update automatically, and back up your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up your files regularly and use security software you trust to protect your data.
Lastly, report phishing emails and texts by forwarding them to firstname.lastname@example.org and file a report with the FTC.
If you feel that any of your First Financial accounts may have been compromised as a result of a scam, please contact Member Services at 732-312-1500 Monday through Friday 8am-6pm EST, or Saturday 8:30am-1pm.
Article Source: Ari Lazarus for FTC.gov
Your Social Security number is an important key for an identity thief. Scammers want it, and they think of all sorts of ways to trick you into giving it away.
The Federal Trade Commission has been getting reports about calls from scammers claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. They say there’s been a computer problem, and they need to confirm your Social Security number.
Others have come across spoof websites that look like the place where you would apply for a new Social Security card – but these websites are actually a setup to steal your personal information.
If you get a phone call or are directed to a website other than ssa.gov that is claiming to be associated with the Social Security Administration, don’t respond. It’s most likely a scam.
Here are some tips to deal with these government imposters:
- Don’t give the caller your information. Never give out or confirm sensitive information – like your bank account, credit card, or Social Security Number – unless you know who you’re dealing with. If someone has contacted you, you can’t be sure who they are.
- Don’t trust a name or number. Con artists use official-sounding names to make you trust them. To make their call seem legitimate, scammers use internet technology to spoof their area code – so although it may seem they are calling from Washington DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
- Check with the Social Security Administration. The SSA has a warning about these scams and suggests you contact them directly at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the reason for the contact and the person’s identity prior to providing any information to the caller.
If you come across one of these scams, please report it to the Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 and then tell the FTC about it.
Don’t become an ID Theft victim! Learn how to prevent identity theft with our ID theft protection guide.
Article Source: Ari Lazarus for the Federal Trade Commission