David Horowitz is
a leading consumer
Horowitz is the
CEO of Fight Back!
and co-founder of
Email David and
Amanda at info@
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BEWARE OF tech-support
scams. The latest version
begins with a phone call
from a fraudster claiming to
be a computer technician
with a well-known software
company. They call to tell
you that your computer has
a virus that needs immedi-
ate attention. Their goal is to
get you to pay for bogus
software you don’t actually
need or to trick you into giv-
ing them remote access to
your computer. Never give
someone you do not know
who calls you out of the blue
remote access to your PC.
If a caller claims to be
tech support from a software
company, hang up and call
the company directly on a
number you know is real. If
you’re looking online for con-
tact info, keep in mind that
scammers sometimes place
online ads that appear to be
genuine in order to convince
you to call them instead of
the real company they’re
You can find genuine
contact information on soft-
ware packaging or on your
Catching a phish
DURING DECEMBER OF last year, thousands of
shoppers received an email about the nondelivery of
a package from Costco and/or other retailers. This
email was a ruse designed to get recipients to click on
a link that contained malware that could steal their
passwords and do other damage.
Similar “package delivery failure” malware campaigns operate throughout the year. Many use the
names of well-known delivery companies such as
FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. When scammers impersonate a business in an email in order to
get your personal or financial information to commit a crime, it’s called phishing.
Don’t take the bait
You can take steps to avoid a phishing attack.
• Don’t ever email or text personal or financial
• Be cautious about opening attachments and
downloading files from unfamiliar emails.
• Use trusted security software and make sure
it is updated consistently.
• Provide personal or financial information
through a business’s or organization’s website only
if you typed in the website address yourself. If the
Logo does not look like
actual Costco logo
Awkward figure for rebate amount. Implies
restocking fee, which Costco doesn’t charge.
Punctuation is missing
from the word “don’t”
Link does not go to a
URL begins with https (the “s” stands for secure) it
is likely safe. However, keep in mind that phishers
have been known to forge security icons.
• Review your credit card and bank account
statements and check for unauthorized charges. If
your statement is late by more than a couple of
days, call your credit card company to confirm
your billing address and account balances.
Notice the signs
Phishing emails in general can contain similar
elements. For example, the email below seems official, but if you read it carefully you will notice its
suspicious elements: The Costco logo is phony, the
word “don’t” does not contain an apostrophe and
the language of the email would make an English
teacher cringe. These are all clues that should warn
you that the email is a fake.
Report phishing emails
If you think that you have been tricked by a
phishing email, take the following actions.
• File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
• Visit the FTC’s identity theft website, www.
theft. Victims of phishing could become victims of
identity theft; the site lists steps you can take to
minimize your risk.
• Forward phishing emails to the FTC at spam@
uce.gov and to the company, bank or organization
impersonated in the email. You may also report
phishing email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a group of ISPs,
financial institutions and law enforcement agencies,
uses these reports to fight phishing.
UPS offers more tips on fighting phishing. Go to
www.ups.com and search “fight fraud.” C
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