The Scam: You get an email purportedly from your bank, credit card provider or utility company. Often, it will say there’s some emergency or that there’s an issue with your account. The messages include a link that takes you to a fake version of the company’s website, with a login prompt that exists solely to capture your user name and password. With access to your account, a crook can peek inside and get your mailing address and any associated account numbers.
Avoid It By: If you get an urgent-sounding message from any company, especially a financial institution, that you do business with, don’t click on anything. Go to the company’s site directly and call or email to verify that the message is legit.
2. PretextingThe Scam: This works exactly the same as phishing, but it’s done over the phone. “People pose as legitimate businesses to trick you into giving out information,” says John Everett, spokesman for the National White Collar Crime Center. The caller pretends to be from your bank, credit card company or even a government agency and tells you there’s some issue that can only be resolved if you provide account information, your Social Security number, login credentials or the like.
Avoid It By: Alarms should start ringing in your head if anybody calls you out of the blue and starts asking for this kind of info. Hang up on them and call wherever they were supposedly calling you from, both to establish that there is no problem with your account and to tip them off to the scam so they can warn other customers.