Can You Spot an Imposter?

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August 10, 2017 by Lisa Brammer

I think we should change the name and lyrics of Madonna’s “Material Girl” song to “Digital Girl” “…’ Cause we are living in a digital world. And I am a digital girl…”

Here’s the thing, in this digital world we are being attacked by scammers at every turn. Take, for example, one of the latest attacks that’s hit Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Scammers, on a phishing expedition, are sending out mass emails posing as the Better Business Bureau. The email says that the business is in violation of the Safety and Health Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, or has a BBB complaint filed against it. The email also provides a link and instructs the recipient to click for more information. Beware, because doing so could download harmful malware onto your computer.

The BBB wants everyone to know they are not sending out these fake emails and are working with the authorities to stop as many of these attacks as they can. According to the article I read, over 100 criminal websites have been shut down so far—that’s how widespread this problem is!

If you receive an email that says it’s from the BBB, please proceed with caution. Of course, incidents like these should remind us that attacks are imminent. Attentiveness should be exercised whenever emails are received.

• Read email carefully: look for signs they may be fake like misspelled words, logos that aren’t quite right, or poor grammar

• Generic greeting – important communications will typically use your name. Be on high alert if salutation reads, “Dear Client”—especially if they want information from you

• Banks and other financial institutions will never ask for sensitive information via email or provide links to fill-in forms

• Check links (hovering curser over link will show where the link will actually take you) to make sure they haven’t been spoofed

• Be wary of instructions that are urgent. Don’t let the tone of the email pressure you into clicking a link ever.
Unfortunately, the BBB is not alone. Fake emails and phone scammers are just a way of life now. Yesterday, I read on the FTC Consumer Information website that fraudsters are also impersonating the National Institutes of Health (NIH). If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the NIH offering you grant money after you pay a small processing fee, hang up and report them to the FTC. This is just another example of fraudsters posing as government officials. Remember a few months ago when people across the country were getting calls from scammers posing as IRS agents asking them to pay debts owed to the IRS with Target gift cards? This is just another attempt to fake you out so they can obtain your credit card or bank information.

Just because caller ID says the call is from a government agency doesn’t mean it is. These con artists can use our digital world to disguise where the call is really coming from.

Don’t be duped, be on high alert.

United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com, call 877-723-2902, or check out our YouTube video.

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