Three Internet Scams to Avoid in 2012

Last year, several new and refurbished cyber scams attacked consumers’ computers in an attempt to capture personal information and spread damaging viruses. Resolve to be a savvier Internet user in 2012 by recognizing the common ways scammers attempt to steal information from consumers. The following three scams topped the 2011 scam list:

1. Job application scam. Consumers received emails, visited websites and filled out online applications that all looked very professional. Once through the first round of interviews, they were asked to fill out a “credit report” or provide bank information to set up direct deposit. The online forms provided were nothing more than a way to capture Social Security numbers and bank account information that can easily be used for identity theft. And, of course, there was no job. BBB reminds consumers that legitimate companies will never require this information before a formal job offer is made.

2. Osama bin Laden viral video scam. Many Facebook users were enticed by their “friends” to click on videos alleging to show footage of Osama bin Laden shortly after his death. Once the link was clicked, malicious software was downloaded to their computers, which hacked into their social media accounts sending similar messages to their friends. Always verify with a trusted news source before clicking on unknown links.

3. Electronic funds transfer phishing scam. The National Automated Clearing House Association facilitates the secure transfer of billions of electronic transactions every year. An email disguised as official communication from NACHA claimed a transaction did not go through successfully. The scammers hoped consumers would react quickly and click on the link before double checking with their bank. If clicked, the link installed malware onto consumers’ computers.

BBB reminds you to, at minimum, update your computer with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software and never click on links from people or organizations you don’t know.

~ Erik