As BBB warns of email and text scams, here's how you can protect - WDRB 41 Louisville News

As BBB warns of email and text scams, here's how you can protect yourself

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Better Business Bureau is warning that scammers are trying to steal personal information through fake emails and text messages.

Mindy Eaton, the director of communications and marketing, said the BBB has received reports of scammers faking texts or emails with big names like PNC Bank, AT&T and Humana.

“There are tens of millions of customers with these companies,” Eaton said. “Chances are with these scammers, they’re not necessarily targeting you specifically because they know you bank at this particular bank or that you are this particular cell phone company’s customer. They’re just targeting whoever they can. Because chances are, they’re going to hit someone who is a customer.”

She said most reports to the BBB Scam Tracker say these fake texts come from someone claiming to be from a bank, government agency or an insurance company.

“It’s got the company logo,” Eaton said. “It’s got company information all in it. It very much looks like a real email or text message.”

But PNC’s corporate public relations director, Marcey Zwiebel, said the company will never contact a customer or request customer information through an email.

Both Zwiebel and Eaton encourage everyone to make sure they look carefully at an email address before replying or clicking on anything. If the email address is a jumble of words or includes the company’s name in a long string of other words, that should be a red flag it might not be authentic.

Eaton also urges everyone to never click on a link in a suspect email or text. Instead, hover over the link with your cursor to see the address it will send you to. Once again, if the address link looks suspicious, it probably is.

“Chances are that link is going to send you to a fake website which looks like the website of the company you’d normally go to," Eaton said. "You put in your log-in information, and at that point the scammer has captured your log-in information.”

She said scammers will then take your information and access your account through the real bank website, insurance website or phone company website.

And never call a phone number listed in one of these emails or texts. Eaton said that could send you directly to scammers who will ask for you to verify personal information in order to steal your identity.

If you get a suspicious email or text, whether you’re a customer of that company or not, call the local branch for that company to check and report it.

Zwiebel said PNC Bank has trained professionals monitoring for fraudulent activity. But she said it’s also important for customers to regularly monitor their own accounts.

“If they do see a transaction in their account information that they don’t recognize and they immediately report that to us, we don’t hold them responsible for that transaction,” Zwiebel said.

PNC Bank provides other helpful advice to protect yourself from all sorts of phishing and online scams and how to fight back.

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