GFA Federal Credit Union

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  • Nov 16, 2022

Tech Talk with Jeff - Scam, scams, and more scams

Have you received an email from PayPal indicating you made a purchase you did not make? Or that you owe a large amount of money, and they are going to take it from you? Or an invoice for gift cards you did not purchase? Or that your account was used unlawfully?

These are all examples of scams. PayPal related scams are widespread. There are a few rules to follow when you see an email like this. These rules apply to any unexpected email or text from any company because these types of scams are not limited to just PayPal. There has been a very large increase in Zelle scams as well due to the nature of that service.

The top rule to follow, before I get into the list of rules, is to be skeptical of all unexpected text messages or emails. Healthy skepticism will go a long way in recognizing something is not right in what you have received.

Rule #1

Do not click on any links or documents in the email or text. If it is a scam, and it most likely is, this will lead you somewhere undesirable. Most likely it will infect the device you are using. It could also be a ploy to get personal information from you.  Don't click.

Rule #2

If a phone number is provided, don’t call it. If you really need to talk to the company to find out what is going on, go to the number on the back of your credit card or to the actual company web site. Never use the phone number off of the email or text message. The number could be part of the scam. You will end up talking to the scammer and they will try to rope you in without you even realizing it. Don’t reply to the email or text message either.

Rule #3

Don’t try to play with the scammers. These people do this for a living and are very good at scamming people. Even people who are experts on scams and scam prevention get caught in scams. You do not want to make contact and you don’t want them to know you actually exist. Once they know they have a live connection (you), the number of scams coming your way will increase because you nibbled at their bait.

Rule #4

Scammers will try to put an air of urgency or fear into the scam to help motivate you to click or call. You should always check on a threat, but don’t let that make you do things so quickly that you don’t think about what you are doing. You stopping to actually think about the threat in front of you is what the scammers do not want you to do. Urgency is their friend in successfully completing the attack.

Rule #5

The only time you provide any type of information is if you initiated the call using a valid phone number from the business web site or the back of a credit card. Your personal information is yours. Don’t give it out to others who can and will use it to take advantage of you. Never provide any type of personal information through a chat, email, or text.

You are your own best protection against the threats that are out there. Be aware, learn about threats that can be used against you, don’t rush, and think through anything you come up against. Don’t be afraid to reach out to companies or authorities (using known valid contact information) for assistance if you are unsure of what to do. Don’t let anyone bully you into staying on the phone with them or into taking actions you don’t want to take.

And as always, gift cards are for giving as gifts. They are never a form of payment. If you are asked to provide a gift card as a payment...It is a scam.

Be aware and be safe!

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