Common Scams

If you compromise your information by providing it to a criminal, you could lose money, become a victim of identity theft, have other personal information stolen, and more.

Phishing / SMishing

The criminal impersonates a business or financial institution in an attempt to trick you into giving out your personal information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. The victim may be contacted by a phone call, text message or email.

SMishing is an unsolicited text message claiming to be your financial institution. The text message may state your card has been blocked and to contact the provided phone number. If you call the fake number you will be asked for card and PIN information; you will compromise your information and your money will be stolen.

ALWAYS call your institution at the phone number on the back of your card or on your account statement only.

Tech Support Scams / Ransomware

By pretending to be an employee of a major computer or security company, the criminal offers technical support to the victim and requests payment by credit card. The victim is usually be contacted by a telephone call or a pop-up message provides a number to call. No real tech support is given and, in fact, viruses and malware may be installed by the criminal.

Ransomware is a type of computer malware that encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible until a specified ransom is paid. Ransomware is typically installed when a user clicks on a malicious link, opens a file in an e-mail that installs the malware, or through downloads from a compromised Web site.

Lottery Scams

You get a card, a call, or an email telling you that you won. They tell you there is a fee or taxes to pay to get your winnings. The criminal asks for your credit card number, account information, or even for you to wire money. There is no prize and you’ll be out any money that you give the scammer.

IRS Scams

A criminal calls you and says they work for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or that they are a police officer. They say you owe the IRS thousands of dollars and threaten you with immediate arrest. They say you can pay them with prepaid cards for a fraction of the amount to keep from going to jail. Just hang up. The IRS does not collect back taxes by requesting prepaid cards.

For more information, visit the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)external link website.

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