How the scam works:
The Internet has made all of our lives much easier. But every silver lining is attached to a cloud. The Internet has made becoming a scam victim much more realistic.
The billing error scam is one such Internet scam. In a very professional looking email, customers of popular telecommunications companies (AT&T or Verizon in US, Telus or Rogers in Canada, Big Pond/Telstra in Australia, etc.) are advised that a billing error has been detected – or that they were unable to process the most recent payment on account – and they are providing a link to update the billing information or risk service disruption.
Of course, in reality there is no billing error and the link is a typical phishing scam for access to your personal and financial information.
There is one example of such a scam email:
“BigPond Billing Alert – Credit Card Authorization Failure ( CaseID – #)
Dear BigPond valued member,
During our monthly account maintenance and verification procedures, our billing and account management department was unable to authorize your current payment method information.
This might be due to one or more of the following reasons:
1. A recent change in your personal registered user information ( i.e. change of address, phone number, credit card )
2. Submitting invalid information during the initial registration or upgrade process.
3. An inability to accurately verify your BigPond billing information due to an internal error within our billing processors.
Please use the following link and update your billing information :
NOTE! If your account information is not updated within the next 48 hours then your ability to use any services provided by BigPond such as broadband, wireless, adsl, cable, dialup and email might become restricted.
Thank you for using BigPond!”
How to avoid:
No company will notify you of a billing error and ask for corrected information via email. If you receive an email such as this with a link to update your information, you can be sure it is a phony, no matter how realistic the email graphics look. And as always, never give your financial information to anyone via email. If you do believe the email is legitimate, call the company to make sure they are the actual senders of the email. This will help you protect your financial information and prevent you from becoming a victim of this far-reaching scam.
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