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Protect Yourself from Impersonator Scams
You receive a text message telling you that you received an unexpected package, and to claim this free gift, the U.S. Postal Service needs you to complete a survey. What should you do?
While this may feel like a wonderful surprise, it’s a scam. The FTC recently reported a spike in claims from people getting text messages that look like they are from familiar companies, such as Costco, Home Deposit, the USPS, and others, requesting information from unknowing customers. Unfortunately, these texts are from imposters, and people have lost money and fallen victim to identity theft.
While the overall details of the text (or email in some cases) may vary, the ultimate goal is the same: the imposter wants your personal information and money. Here are a few examples of these scams:
- Text from the USPS asking you to confirm debit card details so they can deliver a package.
- Text from Costco or Home Depot stating you’ve won a free gift card or power tool, and to claim the reward, you need to click and answer some questions and then pay for shipping.
- Text from USPS states you have a package waiting to be delivered, and you must pay for the shipping via a link provided.
Unfortunately, if you click or submit any information, you’ll end up with nothing and find a charge for the “shipping” and potentially other unauthorized charges.
Here’s how to protect yourself:
- Don’t click on links or respond to unexpected texts. If you think it may be a legitimate request, contact the company using a customer service email or phone number you know is real.
- Never pay for a package to be redelivered via text or email. The USPS won’t contact you about mail delivery in this fashion, and they will never demand payment to redeliver a package.
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Most places don’t provide free gift cards or tools just because. Be cautious in what you believe, and double-check any offers from legitimate sources.
What happens if you’ve already paid or given your information to a scammer?
For any unauthorized charges to your account, contact your financial institution immediately. For Credit Union accounts, call us at 831-425-7708. Additionally, contact the FTC to report the scam and potentially local law enforcement (depending upon the scam).
- CATEGORIES: Fraud & Scams