My Family Got 3 Different Scam Texts/Emails In One Day
I know, I write about scams going around and through Rockford and the Rockford area quite a bit. The reason is pretty simple. I'm outraged by what scammers are doing to senior citizens, people who are barely getting by, young people, and families.
My own dad, who was 85 years old and nearing the very end of his life, was nearly a victim of scam artists who had him convinced that he'd won a multi-million dollar sweepstakes. The only thing that kept them from taking his money and personal information is that I walked in while he was talking to them on the phone. The moment he started giving out his credit card info, I intervened and disconnected his call.
Had he been 20 years younger, he might have figured out what was going on, but at that point in his life he was confused about many things, especially sharks on the phone trying to screw him over. Dad also didn't realize that seniors are prime target material for scammers.
But, as I mentioned, it's not just seniors. Teens, those who are unemployed and seeking a decent job, the people who just want to find love and companionship, and pretty much anyone else who has money that can be taken are also being targeted.
As I mentioned in the headline for this piece, my family got three different scam attempts thrown at us in one 24-hour span.
The first came in the form of text message to my wife Amy. The text looked very official, purporting to come from the Illinois Secretary of State's Office. The text said that my wife needed to validate her Illinois driver's license immediately, and told her to click on the link that was attached to the text to get the process started. The text also said that the instructions it was giving came directly from a Federal government directive.
The second scam attempt was another text, very similar in tone, that came to me from someone claiming to be the Illinois Department of Transportation. There was a problem with my vehicle registration that needed to be addressed right away, the text said. It warned me to act quickly or there could be added charges for non-compliance.
The third was this email that came to me:
This scam, trying to make me believe that it came from Best Buy's Geek Squad, is trying a different tactic. They want me to think that I've just been charged $349.99 for another year of "Personal Home Membership" from the Geek Squad PC Support.
The goal of this scam is to get the recipient to call the number provided at the bottom to straighten this out, which most people will probably do if they believe that they're being charged hundreds of dollars for something that they didn't agree to. The scammers even add a sense of urgency to the mix by saying that I've already been charged that money on the day I got the email.
My son Spencer, knowing that this was a scam attempt, decided to give a call to the number provided to see how the scammers would try to trick us out of the money, our personal information, or whatever else they could get.
Within moments of calling and pretending to very concerned about this payment, and wondering what he had to do to fix things, the scammer on the other end tried to get Spencer to go to a website that allows you to share the contents of your computer with someone else remotely. When asked why he would need to get into our computer system just to fix an account issue, the scammer knew he'd been caught, and he terminated the call with Spencer.
The bottom line to all of this is pretty straightforward. Don't click on links that have been sent to you via text or email from someone saying they represent a governmental agency of any sort. That's not how real government business is done. When in doubt, delete. If you're still concerned after deleting the message, call the agency that the scammers claimed to be representing and ask them about the text or email you received.
Spencer called the real Geek Squad at a real Best Buy and was told that they are aware of this scam. They said they're doing everything they can to get it stopped, and thanked him for letting them know of yet another attempt.
Just because the scammer has a company's logo on their email or text does not make them legitimate.