Frequenters of the HV Shred blog know that we often use this space to share valuable information we find on OnGuardOnline, the FTC blog designed to share information for consumer protection. A recent post by Consumer Education Specialist Amy Hebert caught our attention as worthy of sharing.
Hebert writes about a new scam email that says it’s a court notice from the Bureau of Defaulters Agency-FTC with your arrest warrant record attached. It says you’ve ignored their efforts to contact you, so now your Social Security number is on hold by the federal government, you’ll be prosecuted for fraud, and you’ll owe all kinds of money when you’re found guilty. You’ve got just 24 hours to respond.
It’s not true.
There is no Bureau of Defaulters, and the FTC doesn’t send emails like this to people.
If you get an email like this, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org, then delete it. Don’t click on any attachments or links. Scammers send convincing-looking fake emails with links or attachments they want you to click. When you do, you could download malware onto your computer. If you’re not sure whether an email is real, you can always look up a phone number yourself and contact the court, company, or agency the email claims to be from.
What if you already clicked on the attachment? Follow these steps to get rid of malware. You also can file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint, then visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website. Victims of phishing emails like this could become victims of identity theft, and there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
The FTC has scam alerts you can sign up for to find out about the latest scams. Go to consumer.ftc.gov and click on Scam Alerts, which include a category for imposter scams like these.
For more on best practices in Identity Theft Protection, please visit www.hvshred.com