If I had a nickel for every time I retrieved a message from my inbox warning me that my PayPal account has been limited, or that my credit card has been suspended, well, I’d have at least a hundred bucks in my pocket right now.
Don’t scoff. That’s 2000 nickels!
Not too long ago it happened again. I got an “urgent” email from VISA and MasterCard — apparently they are now one company — to tell me that my credit card was suspended.
By the way, they didn’t identify whether they were referring to my VISA card or my MasterCard, but why worry about important details like that?
Of course, they wanted me to supply them with all my critical credit information, including my credit card number, mothers maiden name, social security number, security code, pin number and password.
So I gave it to them.
You know … the whole episode would be funny, if only it weren’t so sinister. Which is why I thought I’d take a moment to point out just how lazy these thieves usually are when it comes to trying to make a quick buck, by showing you a screen shot at the bottom of this post from the aforementioned phishing scam that appeared my inbox.
The good news is the scammers’ laziness usually provides most folks with enough obvious clues to realize that something is probably amiss.
True, there are a few cyber criminals out there who make their phishing attempts much more professional, but if you stay vigilant it’s tough to get fooled. Remember, credit card companies and banks will never send you an email message that requests your personal information.
What are the major clues to look for? Well … there are quite a few of them. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Unprofessional presentation
- Using “Dear customer” instead of your name in the salutation
- Broken English
- Misleading links that direct you to a site that’s different than the company that is supposedly contacting you
- Misspelled words or poor formatting
- Requests that seem strange or out of the ordinary
- Directing to you to reply to an email address that is different from the stated sender
And folks, if you ever have any doubts regarding the veracity of any message in your inbox regarding your credit or debit cards, call your bank or credit card company directly.
Photo Credit: Iain Wanless