Online bill pay scams hit hard
The convenience of online bill paying has a dark side. A barrage of scammers posing as mobile communications companies send unsuspecting victims emails requesting an online payment. When victims click on a Web link, their computer is infected with a data-stealing program or they are asked to provide their banking account information. Scammers then siphon victims' information - and their accounts. If you receive an email from your provider, don't click on the link. Go to the authorized provider homepage to verify the authenticity. For more tips on keeping your information out of the wrong hands, join millions of Americans in celebrating Data Privacy Day.
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Phony online purchases a phishing scam threat
If you receive an email detailing an online purchase you didn't make, beware. In a popular phishing scam, thieves send emails with official-looking logos that look like legitimate receipts from companies like iTunes. The thieves' goal is to get you to dispute the charge. To do so, you are asked to provide the personal information they need to access your account and/or steal your identity. If you suspect an email or website is fraudulent, report the information to the real company, using a phone number or email address from a reliable source.
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Criminals are posing as U.S. Census employees.
If you don't fill out your 2010 U.S. Census form, you may receive a visit from a government employee looking to collect the name, age, gender, race, ethnic origin, birth date, marital status and employment status of household members. The Census will not ask for your Social Security number or bank account numbers. If someone comes to your door asking for financial information and posing as a U.S. Census worker, do not give it to him or her. To avoid confusion, fill out the official U.S. Census form you received in the mail and return it using a secure mailbox at your local post office.
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