As I have told you so many times, whenever something catches the attention of the public, it catches the attention of scammers and identity thieves who use it as a hook to turn that public’s interest in something into making the public victims of scams. The recent death of Robin Williams and the Ice Bucket Challenge are two examples of things that have fascinated the public that were used to turn people into scam victims. You can find the details about both of these scams in previous Scams of the day. Now, the J.P. Morgan bank hacking is a big news story and it should be. The data breach at J.P. Morgan and a number of other banks poses a serious threat to the financial well being of many people. Scammers and identity thieves are now capitalizing on this concern and fear in the public to send emails and text messages to people in which the identity thieves pose as J.P. Morgan or other banks. In the emails and text messages, you are told about problems with your account that require your immediate attention and you are directed to click on a link for further information. If you click on this link, however, you will end up downloading keystroke logging malware that will steal the personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft. In another variation of this scam, you are directed to provide your personal banking account information in response to the email for verification purposes. Of course, if you do this, all you will succeed in doing is providing an identity thief with the information he or she needs to steal money from your accounts.
Whenever you receive an email or a text message you cannot be sure of who sent it to you. Even if the address of the sender appears to be legitimate, it is easy for a scam artist (remember, they are called artists) to “spoof” or counterfeit a legitimate address to make the message appear to be legitimate. Never provide personal information in response to an email or text message. Never click on links in emails or text messages unless you are absolutely sure that the message is legitimate. If you have think that the email or text message may be legitimate, you should call the bank or other purported sender at a phone number that you independently have confirmed is legitimate to inquire. Don’t call the number provided to you by the scammer.