Cybersecurity: Commission warns consumers of new e-mail phishing scam

*Scammers are impersonating companies with claims of false charges coming

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As many more people access the Internet to do lots of things in the fast evolving virtual world in recent times, scammers will go to any length to snare a victim.

That is why the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning consumers everywhere about a new way the cybercriminals are doing it, agency report said.

According to the regulator, here is how the scam works: a consumer receives an email from a company, like antivirus and antimalware provider Norton.

They’re told they’re about to be charged for a company product, like a new order or auto-renewal, and that they should contact the company via a certain phone number if there’s a mistake.

Of course, the sender is not a company representative at all — and if the victim calls the number, they’ll only wind up talking to a scammer.

FTC Attorney Emily Wu in a blog post, warns that these malicious actors could steal your credit card information, install malware on your computer, sell you worthless or bogus services, or block you from accessing your own files (which is the crux of any classic ransomware scam).

In regard to what consumers should do, the Commission says there are several things consumers need to keep in mind to avoid falling victim to this phishing scheme.

First, the FTC says you should never click on any links in these kinds of e-mails since it’s one of the easiest ways for your computer to be infected with malware.

If you’re given a phone number to call, “do not use it.” Instead, go to the company’s official Web site and use the contact information posted there to speak with a verified company representative.

Here are some other best practices the agency recommends when it comes to safeguarding your personal information on the Web:

Make your passwords long, strong, and complex.

Never give your password to a stranger on the phone, even if they claim to be from a company you recognise.

If you did give out your password, change it right away. Update your computer’s security software, run a scan, and delete anything it identifies as a problem.

Don’t give your bank account, credit card, or personal information over the phone to someone who contacts you out of the blue.

The Commission urges consumers who receive any kind of scam e-mail to report to FTC so it can take action.

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