Taking Back the ID

XFINITY, Amazon, Facebook and Wal-Mart identity theft scams

Online scams abound! Cybercrooks aren't resting as they work to pry cash from your wallets and purses. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) recently reported scams involving XFINITY, Amazon, Facebook and Wal-Mart.

XFINITY phishing email scam. Massachusetts police reported this scam that targeted customers of Internet service provider XFINITY. Fraudsters initiated the scam by randomly sending an email message that said that a recent payment couldn't be processed until the recipient sent personally identifiable information (PII), including the victim's full name, username, password and Social Security number.

Delete these emails. Or if you're not sure, find XFINITY's actual phone number online and give them a call. Of course, don't use the telephone number included in the email message.

Amazon password phishing email scam. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of a recent announcement that some Amazon customers might have had their passwords exposed. The scammers are emailing phishing messages at random to Amazon users to attempt to download malicious malware onto their computers that will search for PII.

Facebook quiz scam. Cybercriminals snare Facebook users with fake quizzes that grab their PII, including contact information, friends' lists, photos and other personal social media content and history. They then use it for the usual identity theft purposes, but they also sell it to advertisers and other cybercriminals.

Cybercriminals have targeted Facebook with thousands of scams. I reported on some of the worse ones in my July/August 2013, column, Facebook phishing schemes are turning ‘friends' into enemies. Don't be tempted to give up any of your PII under any circumstances, including via spam emails and phishing attempts. And, equally important, to avoid being targeted by cybercriminals, restrict the personal, friends and family information you place on your Facebook account.

Wal-Mart employment scam. Cybercriminals are using Wal-Mart as a front for an employment scam to drain victims' bank accounts and grab their PII. The scammers work the fraud by mailing a victim an official-looking check from Wal-Mart and telling the individual in an accompanying letter that it's "your first payment in your new position as a ‘quality control' expert at Wal-Mart." The victim, who actually doesn't work for Wal-Mart, tries to cash the check anyway, and in the process the cybercriminal drains his bank account. Recipients of these bogus checks should shred them and the letters.

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