How the Scam Works:
You answer a call on your cell phone. It’s a recording that says you have a credit on your Verizon Wireless account, and you need to visit a special website to claim it. When you go to that URL, it looks just like Verizon’s website — colors, logo and all. You are prompted to enter your account username, password and/or credit card information. Don’t do it! Giving away this info will open you up to identity theft.
The con keeps changing as authorities shut down the fake websites. However, you can often spot the scam because the amount of credit offered typically matches the URL given. For example, scammers would instruct you to redeem a $123 credit by going to vzw123.com.
Tips to Spot a Website Phishing Scam:
Here’s how to spot a website phishing scam:
- Don’t believe what you see. It’s easy to steal the colors, logo and header of an established business and create a fake website. So just because something looks real does not mean it is.
- Check the URL. Scammers love to make the URLs of phishing websites look like that of the legitimate website. They often put the name of the business they are impersonating as a subdomain of another website. This will look something like: http://www.fakecompany.othersite.com. Or, as in the scam above, they will use the initials or another variation of the company name.
- Consider how the business normally reaches you: Does this business normally call, text, email or send a letter when it has something to communicate? Beware of a departure from the normal routine. Verizon Wireless typically sends its customers text messages, so be wary of a phone call.
- Contact the business: When in doubt, call the business’s customer support line to check the legitimacy of the offer. Be sure to find the phone number on your bill or by a web search — not the website the would-be scammers gave you.