Scammers are always finding creative new ways to steal personal and financial information from their victims. During the holiday season, scams are especially prevalent as many people await packages and deliveries. But a scam can happen to anyone, at any time of the year, so it’s important to remain vigilant.
Hackers will do their best to entice and bait you into sharing extremely valuable personally identifiable information (PII), such as your password, birth date, Social Security number, or even your pet’s name. They might send text messages to your cell phone, using the carrot method to dangle something desirable or fear-inducing and reel you in.
Examples of these actions include:
- Promising free prizes or gift cards
- Promising to pay off student loans
- Offering low or no interest credit cards
These are traps. The actor on the other end will not deliver on their promise.
Other fear-based tactics commonly used by hackers include:
- Claiming to be calling from Microsoft to protect you from malware on your device
- Claiming to be a representative from your bank to protect you from fraudulent activity
- Sending a package delivery notification
- Sending a falsified invoice
- Claiming there is an issue with a payment method on an order you did not place
Fraudsters can also impersonate government officials, claiming you owe money and may face legal consequences. The IRS and other government agencies always send correspondence by mail. They do not call or email.
Stay vigilant to avoid falling prey to one of the many scams affecting people nationwide.