Crime

New phishing scams target PayPal, Amazon users

You may become the victim of a phishing scam if you respond to the latest email schemes that target users of PayPal and Amazon.

The email may appear to be legitimate at first glance, but if you respond or click on a link and submit your information, you will give thieves access to your financial information and possibly infect your computer with a virus.

State Attorney General Jim Hood cautioned Mississippians about the latest scams in a press release this week.

A phishing email is a deceptive way to steal your credit card number, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords and other important information.

Hood said the scams also can appear as pop-up messages on your computer.

PayPal and Amazon have nothing to do with the scams, he said.

These online services and businesses make it easy for consumers to shop and pay for items online, but there are people out there who want to use this convenience as a way to steal your money, or even worse, your identity.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood

So how do you know if an email is a scam?

Pay attention before you respond to an email or click on a link. Reputable businesses will never ask for your username, password or financial information in an email, Hood said.

The latest PayPal scam tells you there’s a security problem with your account. It directs you to a link that asks for your username and password. The link misspells the word PayPal and sends you to a fake website.

The latest Amazon scam works in several ways. It can confirm an order for something you didn’t buy, ask that you update your payment information or ask for your username, password or other personal information. The emails usually have misspelled words. Clicking on the link also can cause malicious software to download onto your computer.

“These online services and businesses make it easy for consumers to shop and pay for items online, but there are people out there who want to use this convenience as a way to steal your money, or even worse, your identity,” Hood said.

If you’re not sure if an email is really from PayPal or Amazon, go directly to their websites, which have secure logins.

“Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files,” Hood said.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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