If you’ve been following the news this holiday season, you’ve probably heard that Target shoppers may have been affected by the recent data breach. Target notified their customers of the breach via e-mail.
But watch out. Scammers follow the news, too. Scam artists may send out phony “Target” e-mails pretending to help, but they actually want to trick you into giving them your personal information. And, they’re skilled at making the e-mails look real.
If you get an e-mail that says it’s from Target, the Federal Trade Commission recommends here’s what to do to make sure you don’t get scammed:
If any e-mail asks for your personal or financial information, it’s most likely a scam. For example, the e-mail asks for your credit card number to check whether your card was compromised by the breach. What do you do? Don’t reply. No legitimate business will ask for your personal information through unsecure methods such as e-mail.
If there are links in the e-mail, don’t click on them, even if they seem legitimate at first glance. Scammers can easily create links and sites that look like the real thing, but can install viruses to your device or direct you to spoof sites that exist to steal your information. Hovering over a link can reveal a deliberately misspelled web address, or a completely different destination. Your best bet is to type the URL directly into your browser.
During the holidays, scammers may send e-mails promising a free gift card, a new tablet or computer, or even a seasonal job in exchange for your financial information. Even though these offers may sound tempting, delete the message and keep your information to yourself.
If consumers think they’ve received a fake e-mail, they should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and delete the message from their inbox. To learn more, read the FTC article on how to deal with phishing scams.