This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
Various US authorities are alerting the public to common online fraud schemes as part of the “Don’t Click December” campaign.
According to Cybernews, the following three types of cybercrime schemes cause billions of dollars of losses each year:
The first one is the “Package can’t be delivered” scam, in which the malicious actor targets individuals through text messages or emails, claiming that a package cannot be delivered unless they click the provided link and enter their personal information or pay a redelivery fee. In such a case, the experts warn that the scammer wants the victim to click a link to steal their money and information and warn not to click it, but rather contact the delivery service or seller directly using a verified number or website.
The second scam is the “Account subscription” scam, in which the scammers send emails or text messages indicating that a subscription has been renewed for another year, encouraging clicking a link to verify, unsubscribe, or receive a receipt for the subscription. Experts warn not to engage with an unsolicited message asking the victim to click a subscription link, and even to go as far as report and delete any such messages from a company where the user doesn’t have a subscription.
The third is the “Phantom hacker” scam, in which criminals send unsolicited messages by phone, email, text, or pop-up pretending to be “tech support” and asking the user to provide access to their computer so the software can be updated to “prevent hacks.” Experts warn that users getting such a request shouldn’t ever click any links, since any real government entities and legitimate businesses won’t send unsolicited messages to ask for access to a personal computer.
Moreover, the experts warn that these aren’t the only scam techniques and that there are always new rising schemes. They advise: “Exercise skepticism and caution when receiving unsolicited online, email, pop-up, or text communications from unknown or unverified sources. If there is any doubt about a link, message, or attachment, law enforcement cautions: “Don’t click it.”
Boise Police Detective Brad Thorne, who’s part of “Don’t Click December” explains: “Scammers use secrecy, urgency, and fear to manipulate victims. If, at any time, you are being pressured, told to keep transactions secret, or even lie to loved ones and authorities to complete a transaction, it’s very likely a scam. We encourage all scam victims to know they are not alone, and they should call police for help.”