BBB warns of email, phone scamming increase for the New Year

Published: Jan. 3, 2020 at 3:39 PM CST
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With the New Year, comes the scammers trying to take advantage of us online and on our cell phones. Beware for what looks like unexpected rewards and phone calls.

Jim Hegarty from the Better Business Bureau explains how an email from Amazon, Kohl’s, or any other shopping center could be a Trojan horse.

“The fact that you open the email is not the problem, the links within the body of the email that is the issue,” said Hegarty.

Scammers are spoofing these retailers offer bonus rewards, but they’re actually looking to steal information.

“Those links are from unknown senders probably for offshore, they contain malware that can be very damaging, it can provide access by scammers to your systems and to the sensitive information that you have on your computers,” said Hegarty.

A tip Hegarty has, check how you are addressed in the email.

“It would have your name, not say ‘dear valued customer’,” said Hegarty.

Another giveaway, misspellings, and typos. The best way to be sure Hegarty says is to call the retailers. They’ll let you know if it’s legitimate.

Phone scammers are also back.

Hegarty says unless we recognize the phone number, it is best to not answer even if it comes from your area.

“What the scammers are doing now is they are spoofing the caller ID to make it look like it’s from the 402 area or local area code,” said Hegarty.

Hegarty says that it seems to get worse every year, keeping consumers on their toes more than ever.

Hegerty says many of these scams originate in other countries like Nigeria and Cameroon. He says the prosecution is difficult in those countries because the United States doesn't have a good working relationship with law enforcement agencies.

Rule of thumb, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is a scam.