Don’t let it be you: Advice from the FBI on scam season

The FBI is advising folks that scams are on the rise this holiday season.
The FBI is advising folks that scams are on the rise this holiday season.(Staff)
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 7:12 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - If you’ve been spending a lot more time on the internet during the pandemic, you’re not alone. The FBI is alerting folks that scammers are using their pandemic time trying to steal people’s hard-earned money.

According to Special Agent William Kilgore, the holidays usually bring a new round of scams. During the days of COVID-19, there are a lot more scammers to look out for.

Oftentimes, scams come in the form of some kind of support team: technical, security, even customer support, according to the FBI. Sometimes they’re calls, emails, pop-up windows and they usually try to represent a popular company.

Kilgore said they’ll try to ask for personal information relating to accounts, access to computers and other sensitive information. He said by no means should you give any information over to someone you don’t know and the companies these scammers claim to be with don’t ask for those pieces of information.

Many people know a scam when they see one. Kilgore said there’s usually some red flags that you can use to figure out if you’re being targeted.

“There’s a lot of unsolicited advice or unsolicited claims that you’re a victim, you’ve been hacked, your accounts been broken into, money’s been stolen, and so they try to create a sense of urgency and fear that if they don’t act now, it’s just going to be even worse,” he said.

Instead of giving in to that sense of concern, Kilgore said patience and keeping a level head is key. Instead of immediately acting, he suggests you reverse it and try to find out more about the scammer.

“Get as much information from them as you can. The name, contact number, all that information because that could potentially become valuable later on,” he said.

Unfortunately, Kilgore said the scammers aren’t looking to scam the people who know what a scam looks like. They go after the elderly most of the time.

“Those who are most likely at risk are those who aren’t necessarily cyber illiterate, but they didn’t grow up in a digital age,” he said, “didn’t grow up on social media and all that. That’s where we see a disproportionate victimization of the elderly.”

However, it’s not just Grandma and Grandpa to be worried about. Kilgore said it’s very important to have a conversation with the kids about the internet and scam safety.

On top of keeping information secure, the FBI advises that folks keep up-to-date antivirus software running on their computers, use pop-up blockers and disconnect the internet if you see a virus.

Additionally, check with the company the scammer claimed to be with through a publicly available phone number if it’s a phone scam.

It’s also recommended to go to people you can trust if you feel like you’re the victim of the scam, whether that be a tech-savvy friend, family member or law enforcement

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