BOSTON (CBS) – This is National Consumers Protection Week. This is a national campaign to help consumers make better-informed decisions and avoid being scammed.
Attorney General Healey’s office has joined the battle and will be holding informational meetings around the state all week. Log onto their website to get a list of the events in your neighborhood.
Answer your phone, open your e-mails and the scams find you. The Better Business Bureau warns us about a couple of more scams.
Fake Friend Scam – Did you ever get a Friend Request on Facebook from someone you already thought was your Friend? If you hit Accept, you may have just friended a scammer.
A popular recent scam has been the theft of people’s online identities to create fake profiles, which can be used in a variety of ways. A new Friend can learn a lot about you to scam you later, “recommend” sketchy websites that download malware, use your account to gather information on your other Friends, even impersonate a military officer or other trustworthy person to perpetrate a romance scam.
Be careful on social media, keep your privacy settings high, and don’t share confidential information. You can’t always be sure that your Friends are really your friends.
Scam Texts – With online and mobile banking skyrocketing, it’s not a surprise that scams quickly follow. One major tactic recently is the use of scam texts, known as “smishing,” to steal personal information.
They look like a text alert from your bank, asking you to confirm information or “reactivate your debit card” by following a link on your smart phone. Banks of all sizes have been targeted, and details of the scam vary, but the outcome is the same: scammers get your banking information, maybe even your ATM number and PIN.
You may even inadvertently download malicious software that gives the scammer access to anything on your phone. And more and more of us have the same personal financial information stored on our phone that we have on our personal computers.
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.