Last Modified: Monday, July 30, 2012 2:18 PM
Local residents’ email accounts and social networking sites are being targeted by scammers who want to use victims’ identities to get money, said Carmen Million, director of the local Better Business Bureau.
The office has received several calls from businesses and residents about emails made to look like they are from friends or acquaintances who say they are in financial trouble overseas and need money.
“Beware; it’s a scam,” Million said in a news release. “The email comes from a friend or business account and is written with a sense of urgency. The writer says they’re overseas, claims to have lost their wallet, or some other story, and asks the person to wire $2,500 so they can sort out the issue and fly back home,” she said. “If you respond, they tell you how to send the money through Western Union.”
Million urges people not to respond to the emails and, instead, call the friend directly.
Should an email account be hacked, Million said the victim should notify contacts immediately and file a complaint with IC3, an Internet crime complaint center, at www.ic3.gov.
Million and the BBB offer the following tips to keep email and social media accounts safe:
• Change passwords often.
• Don’t use the same ID and PIN number or password for every online account you have.
• Never disclose login information to anyone.
• Do not store IDs and passwords where others can gain access to them. It is best not to write the information down at all.
• If accessing information via a wireless network, make sure the network is secure. Not doing so leaves information vulnerable to criminals. Even if someone isn’t visiting a site where an ID and password is entered, computers are still exposed to possible threats.
For information, call the local BBB office at 478-6513.