Online Staff Report
Scammers are now using Caller ID spoofing technology and a look-alike website to scam Verizon Wireless users. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges consumers to avoid sharing personal information with callers who claim to be from Verizon.
Consumers report receiving calls allegedly from Verizon’s “Technical Support,” which is a recorded message saying you are eligible to receive a voucher for your account and you need to visit a website to claim it. The web address contains the word “Verizon” in the URL name and the value of the voucher. As an example, one version of the scam uses “verizon54.com.”
“Since Verizon Wireless is one of the nation’s largest cell phone providers, they and their customers are an easy target for scammers,” said Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford office of the BBB. “Consumers need to be aware of suspicious phone calls and fake websites … to keep their personal information safe.”
When you go to the website, it looks very similar to the official Verizon site, with the same Verizon logo and colors. The site asks you to “Verify My Account” by entering your cellphone number, Verizon ID and Social Security number. After entering this information, you don’t get the voucher in return, instead, the scammer has stolen your Social Security number.
Here are ways to spot and avoid this phishing scam:
• Watch for look-alike URLs. Be wary of sites that have Verizon as a subdomain of another URL (i.e. “verizon.scamwebsite.com” or part of a longer URL (i.e. “verizonvoucher105.com”).
• Consider how the business normally reaches you. Beware of a departure from the normal routine. Verizon Wireless typically sends its customers text messages, so be wary of a phone call.
• Be extremely suspicious of any site wanting complete personal information. Most services and businesses that require personal identification already have the information from when you originally signed up, especially if the business is sending the message to you. They should not need your entire Social Security number or entire credit card number again.
• Contact the business: Always call the business’s customer support line to check the legitimacy of the offer. Be sure to find the phone number on your bill or by a web search, not the website the scammers gave you.
• Don’t believe what you see. The website that scammers created for this scam looks amazingly similar to the real Verizon Wireless site. Ripping off logos, colors and graphics online is easy for scammers. Just because it looks real, does not mean it is.
For more advice on scams, visit bbb.org.
Posted March 13, 2014