Popular new scams and how to protect yourself

March 3, 2020

Think twice about that phone call from Amazon

A scam we commonly hear about is a tech support scam, where a scammer posing as a tech from Microsoft or Apple will call you, claiming there is a virus, malware, spyware, whatever-ware on your computer and they need to access your computer.

We are currently seeing a spin on the scam with the scammer calling and claiming to be a representative from Amazon or another account you may have.  They claim there is a problem with your account and they need access to your computer to fix the issue.

Once they have access to your computer, they steal your personal and financial information. Afterward, victims are finding large unauthorized withdrawals from their bank accounts.

Like most phone scams, hang up and verify the situation by looking up the number and calling the business you hold the account with yourself.  Never give access to your computer or accounts to someone who calls you out of the blue.

Reminder to check your mail carefully!

Boise Police have also recently taken reports from victims claiming bank accounts were opened with their stolen personal information, which includes their social security numbers.  The victims became suspicious when they started receiving mail from banks about their new accounts, sometimes even receiving debit cards.  These accounts can be used for fraud and other types of crime.

If someone has stolen your social security number, they can open bank accounts, new lines of credits, file fraudulent tax returns, and obtain medical procedures, putting you on the hook for hundreds if not thousands of dollars in losses and ruining your credit in the process.

To catch this type of identity theft we recommend running your credit report, at a minimum once per year.  This will help you identify any unauthorized accounts, banking or credit, that many have been opened in your name.

Other flags to look for:

  • You start receiving mail from banks or other financial institutions you don’t have accounts with.
  • You stop receiving mail altogether, as someone may have entered a change of address with the post office in an attempt to hide their crimes.

To prevent becoming a victim, we recommend:

  • Store and dispose of sensitive information properly.  Don’t carry your social security card with you in a wallet or purse and use a shredder to dispose of documents.
  • Be cautious of sharing your personal identifying information over the phone and online.
  • To prevent criminals from opening accounts in your name, consider freezing your credit reports, which you can do so for free with each credit bureau.

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

(208) 570-6180 | BPDMedialine@cityofboise.org

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