Scam Radar — May 2024

Below are three new scams to keep on your radar, as well as some tips for how to avoid them. Be on the look out for yourself, your family, and your clients! THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!

Fake Login Fiasco

Scammers frequently try to trick you into clicking on malicious links in emails by making them appear legitimate. In a recent scam, they are trying to trick you with an email that appears to be related to your Microsoft account security. The email says that there has been some unusual activity on your account and that many of your account’s features have been locked. There is a link in the email, along with instructions to click it so that you can review all activity on your account.

If you click the link, you’ll be taken to what appears to be a Microsoft login page. However, the login page is actually fake, and you won’t be taken to your Microsoft account if you enter your login information here. Instead, entering your user credentials on this page will allow cybercriminals to steal them. Once they have your username and password, they can use them to access and steal your personal information.

Tips to Avoid Similar Scams:

  • Scammers will often try to scare you into acting impulsively. Always stop and think before clicking, especially if an email is instructing you to act quickly.

  • Pay attention to the details of the email. Phishing emails will often contain spelling and grammatical errors, or the wording of the email may seem unusual.

  • Navigate to the official website in your browser whenever possible. Clicking a link in an email may direct you to a fake or malicious website.

Mystery Box Mayhem

If something seems too good to be true, it usually is, and this recent phishing scam is no exception. This week, cybercriminals are sending an email that appears to come from the online retailer Shein. The sender’s email address isn’t from a Shein domain, and the email does not contain any official logos or branding. However, the email claims that you have won a Shein Mystery Box and encourages you to click a link to claim your prize.

If you click the link, you’ll be taken to a website with a URL different from the official Shein website. You’ll be instructed to enter your personal information there so that you can receive the mystery box. Of course, this is a fake website that is controlled by cybercriminals. If you enter your information here, they will be able to steal it immediately.

Tips to Avoid Similar Scams:

  • Check other sources to verify the legitimacy of an email. In this case, the email claims that Shein is giving away a mystery box. If this were a real giveaway, Shein’s official webpage would contain more information.

  • Hover your mouse over the link in the email. This action will allow you to see the webpage URL where the link will direct you. In this case, the website URL is not connected to Shein.

  • Pay close attention to the sender and body of the email. This phishing email sender doesn’t appear to be related to Shein. The body of the email doesn’t contain logos or branding, meaning that it is unlikely to be an official email.

Tollway Turmoil

Scams that occur over text messaging are called smishing scams. This week, cybercriminals are using smishing to target motorists. They send a fake text message claiming that you have a toll due for driving on Pennsylvania Turnpike. The toll is not for a large amount, but the message says that if it isn’t paid immediately, you will be charged additional late payment fees.

There is a link in the text message, and you are instructed to tap the link in order to settle your balance. However, the text message is actually from cybercriminals, and if you tap the link, it could take you to a fake payment website. Cybercriminals use fake websites to steal your login credentials, take your money, and install malware on your phone. Always stop and think before you click!

Tips to Avoid Similar Scams:

  • Be cautious when making a payment after receiving a text message. You should always visit the official website of the organization to make a payment instead of clicking the link in the message.

  • Always stop and question if a message is expected prior to taking action. If you have not recently driven on the tollway, receiving a message regarding paying a toll would be very suspicious.

  • This smishing scam targets drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. But this sort of scam could target tollways in any location.

For more information regarding scams, please visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Advice website.

You can also find details about the signs of a scam, how to avoid a scam, and how to report a scam in this article by the FTC — How to Avoid a Scam.


Cited in article.

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