Why scammers bombard unsuspecting consumers with bogus e-mails amid pandemic: Bureau

*Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be wary, as scammers hope that just enough people who are expecting a package or have made a lot of credit card purchases will see their message and overreact

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

“Don’t trust e-mails that claim your Zoom account has been suspended.”

This is a message by authorities to consumers, especially during the pandemic when scammers are pretending to be Zoom customer support.

It has been observed that during the holiday season, phishing scams usually disguise themselves as delivery or credit card companies.

You know the drill: you receive an e-mail with an official-looking logo that tells you the delivery company has been unable to deliver your package or your credit card has been revoked.

However, the scammer hopes that just enough people who are expecting a package or have made a lot of credit card purchases will see the message and overreact.

But in this year of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, scammers have another weapon in their arsenal, according to Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The agency noted that so many people are using Zoom to communicate with school, the office, and family that a message saying your Zoom account is being cancelled is enough to induce panic.

It was learnt that consumer authorities report a surge of reports of this kind of scheme. A social media message or a text includes Zoom’s logo and contains a message saying something like, “Your Zoom account has been suspended. Click here to reactivate.”

Other versions of the scam use the message “You missed a meeting, click here to see the details and reschedule.”

In either case, the sender wants you to click on the link in the message because doing so will download malware onto your device.

The Better Business Bureau disclosed that scammers registered more than 2,449 Zoom-related domains from late April to early May 2020. The Bureau said the scammers had been using them ever since to bombard unsuspecting consumers with bogus e-mails.

It noted while these scammers aren’t trying to steal money or your identity ─ at least not directly ─ they are seeking to take control of your computer, which could actually be worse. Once inside, the BBB stressed, they might be able to help themselves to your bank account or steal enough personal data to steal your identity.

A key logger would be able to watch everything you do with your device.

Entering your username and password gives scammers access to your account and any other account that uses a similar login and password combination.

Nonetheless, in order to avoid this, consumers are encouraged to think before reacting to any unexpected e-mails.

It may say it’s from Zoom, but it probably isn’t, said the agency

Look carefully at the domain address.

It should say either Zoom.com or Zoom.us.

Anything else, and it’s not an official communication.

It advised users to make it a rule to never click on links contained in unsolicited e-mails.

When in doubt, it stated use a search engine to get to the company’s website.

They all have a “contact us” page where you can ask if the communication is real.

Without clicking any links, copy and paste the contents of the e-mail into the “contact us” form.

If you think there may be a legitimate issue with your account, contact the company directly by going to its website by either typing in the URL or doing a search.

Don’t click on the link in the e-mail.

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