Attorney General Chris Carr warns the public about scams targeting Netflix subscribers and users of online dating services, usually by email.
“Identity theft is rampant these days, with scammers always looking for opportunities to trick people into giving out their financial and personal information,” said Attorney General Carr. “As Valentine’s Day approaches, we are urging consumers to be on alert for these classic phishing scams.”
If you have a Netflix account, beware of an email circulating that purports to be from the streaming service. The email, which has been reported across the country and the United Kingdom, tells recipients that their account has been deactivated because the company could not validate billing information. According to reports, the recipient is encouraged to click on a link to a fake Netflix site where consumers are prompted to enter their financial information. The scammers can use this information to commit fraud.
To avoid this and other phishing scams:
- Review the email for any misspellings, grammatical errors or suspicious requests.
- When in doubt, pick up the phone and contact the sender directly by looking up the actual phone number for the organization; do not use the number provided in the email.
- Never give out financial or personal information to unverified sources.
- If you get a suspicious email, you should not reply to it, open any attachments or click on any links.
- Victims of phishing could become victims of identity theft. Visit Identitytheft.gov for steps you can take to minimize your risk.
Reporting phishing scams:
- Forward phishing emails to firstname.lastname@example.org – and to the organization impersonated in the email.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/complaint.
- You can also report phishing email to email@example.com. The Anti-Phishing Working Group – which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies – uses these reports to fight phishing.
This Valentine’s Day, watch out for scammers who are only interested in your money, not your heart.
Here’s how these scams typically work. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people. They profess their love early on, even though they have never met you. They encourage you to communicate with them via email, phone or IM, rather than through the online dating site, so that the dating service won’t have a record of the conversation. They often claim to be traveling, living or working abroad to explain why they are unable to meet in person. Once they have your romantic interest and your trust, they make up stories about how they urgently need money and ask you to wire it to them. Your money disappears, along with your new romantic partner.
Tips to avoid romance scams:
- If an online date asks you to send money, be wary that it is a scam.
- Be suspicious if an online romance is getting very serious but the person is never able to meet face-to-face.
- Never agree to open a bank account for someone, transfer money or re-ship goods they send you. These are signs of money laundering, which is a criminal offense.