Big Scam Alert! Can You Identify Them? Here’s When Not to Click!
Scams and scammers are nothing new. Pharaoh famously fell for the square-wheeled chariot scam back in the day. Ok, I made that up, but it could have happened. Of course, scams these days are easier to pull off with the advent of the internet. All the bad guys need you to do is click a link in an email, for example, and you're sunk.
Often, it seems, the most vulnerable and trusting among us are the easiest targets for the 21st-century scammers. But, nobody is immune, and we all need to employ the utmost care when it comes to unsolicited emails, texts, calls, and in-person visits.
I recently fell for a phony scam, perpetrated by our own company to catch staff members who may fall prey to would-be tricksters. Of course, the company is wise to do so, since there is so much at stake should company-wide breaches occur. When I clicked on the link, the result was that I received a 'gotcha' message on my screen, and then was 'invited' to complete some mandatory internet security training.
It should be pointed out, that I'm normally very careful and it really was the result of a 'perfect storm' that I clicked on the questionable link. I was in the process of scheduling my second COVID shot via a mobile app. The next step was to look for an email within a few minutes to confirm. Seriously, about a minute later, an email showed up in my work email that said something about COVID shots, and I reflexively clicked on the link.
Talk about astronomical odds. While it's true that I should have been looking at my personal email account and not my work email, I do have them both on my phone and since I was expecting that email - I clicked - before I thought. The good news is, the resulting mandatory training was very useful and I'm now even more cautious.
Another scam going around, again, is the one that allegedly is summoning you to 'court'. I get this one about every three months or so. It's the TITLE 16 USC 8673 scam. They say, in part,
Hereby we inform you that you are suspected of violating of the Federal Law under TITLE 16 USC 8673. Related hearing will be held next week at 3:30PM in Courtroom 6B. Case number is 9485-249806724.
They go on to say that if you or your attorney cannot attend the hearing you should click a link to make arrangements. Every time they offer a link to be clicked, it's a trap to steal your information, infect your computer with malware, viruses, etc.
I think a lot of people fall victim to this scam, not because they think it's legitimate or that they're actually in trouble, but rather, they're curious what the moronic criminals will do the further they go. The problem is, once you click, they've got you.
According to the United States Court's website:
"Unless you are actively involved in a case in federal court and have consented to receive court notifications electronically, you generally will not be served with court documents electronically."
Beware and be careful.