Do you want to learn some of the best scam-fighting advice? Maintain your composure.
Con artists take advantage of people's fear of being caught off guard and get them to act before they think. According to the BBB Scam Tracker, many scam attempts may claim that your Amazon, Paypal, or other account has been hacked. Scammers expect that you will panic and fall for their scam.
How the Hacked Account Scam Works
You get an email, phone call, or text message telling you that your bank or another account, like Amazon, Netflix, or PayPal, has been hacked. To risk having your account hacked or being billed for a fraudulent purchase, you must take prompt action. Don't be fooled!
The company's name, colors, and terminology are used in the email to make it appear like an official warning. The message contains a link to a page that requests your account number, username and password information, and sometimes even your Social Security number. You risk becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud if you share this information.
In the phone version of this scam, the caller reports to have discovered an expensive charge on your account that you did not make. The caller may even pressure victims to install fake "security software" to their phone or computer. This "security software" is actually malware that gives scammers access to victims' confidential data, such as passwords. In other variants, the caller advises that you must purchase prepaid gift or debit cards to undo the unauthorized charges and protect your account.
How to Spot Hacked Account Scams:
- Be extra cautious with unsolicited calls, emails, and texts. Don't take statements from unsolicited communications at face value. Do your research and fact check before automatically believing their claims.
- Use a legitimate data breach protection tool like Guardio to receive alerts from a trusted source when one of your accounts is involved in a breach.
- Understand how businesses handle communications. If you know how disputes and suspicious activity are handled with individual companies you do business with, it will be easier to spot a scam. PayPal, for example, says that they will never send you an email requesting personal information like your password or request that you download attachments or software.
- Look into the claims. Don't act until you've double-checked the claims. Log into your account or look up the company's official phone number (check your bill or welcome email) and call to ensure that there is unusual behavior linked with your account.
- Don’t panic and don’t feel intimidated. Scammers want you to be afraid. They use bullying methods to get you to hand over personal information or pay money. Legitimate companies do not use bullying tactics. Maintain your composure and consider your options before acting.
- Don't offer personal details to someone you don't know and trust.Before dealing with any business or person you are unfamiliar with, do your homework.