BOSTON (CBS) – This is National Consumers Protection week. This is a national campaign to help consumers make better-informed decisions and avoid being scammed. Billions of dollars are lost each year to scammers.
All this week we are going to be talking about scams and prevention. I kept a log of the questionable e-mails that I received.
This month alone I have inherited huge sums of money from China, Nigeria, South Africa, and Scotland. I have been chosen by the US treasury to receive $500,000.
Wells Fargo sent me a notice that my account has been flagged for unauthorized use, Chase told me they have funds they need to direct deposit into my bank account. Capitol One determined that different computers had logged into my account and my passwords were comprised.
I don’t have an account with any of these banks.
An e-mail from Fed Express as to a package they wanted to deliver so just click on this link to print out the label. And I won the lottery in Canada. Although I never bought tickets for the lottery in Canada.
An e-mail from Amazon telling me that I have a thank you gift card pending. Just click on the link to complete the registration.
I got a work from home job offer, something from AnnieZ who just wanted me to check a website, another telling me I had been chosen to help distribute millions of dollars, oh and could they deposit the money into my account and information on reverse mortgages.
Every one of these e-mails was dangerous. Some asked for personal information including bank routing numbers and credit card numbers. Others are malware and if you click on their link you have just invited viruses, worms, or Trojan horses onto your computer or worse the scammer may now have control of your computer.
Do not open these e-mails, do not click on third party links and certainly do not give out any personal information to an unsolicited e-mail.
Always check the e-mail address. Usually this is your first clue as to a scam. The Amazon e-mail had an address at “fransfor.com”. Anything from Amazon would have their name on it.
One more thing: Report Scams
If you think you may have been scammed: File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Visit ftc.gov/idtheft, where you’ll find out how to minimize your risk of identity theft.
Report scams to the State Attorney General.
If you get unsolicited email offers or spam, send the messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you get what looks like lottery material from a foreign country through the postal mail, take it to your local postmaster.
You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.
Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.