CONCORD — Police Chief Joseph O’Connor and the Concord Police Department wish to provide tips to residents on how to identify and avoid common email phishing scams.
Several residents have recently reported receiving spoofed emails. In the email, residents have been asked to buy gift cards and provide other personal or sensitive information.
“Phishing emails appear to be from a person, company or organization that you know. Instead, it’s a scammer preying on your trust,” Chief O’Connor said. “We ask residents to be wary of unsolicited emails or texts. Ask the emailer to verify. And if you do believe that you have been contacted by a scammer, call the police as soon as possible.”
Scammers often use email or text messages to trick individuals into providing personal information. They may attempt to steal passwords, account numbers or Social Security numbers and will try to use this information to gain access to personal accounts.
The Concord Police Department warns that residents should NEVER give personal information, Social Security numbers or credit card numbers to people through social media, email or text.
According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), which is part of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), common email phishing scams that target residents may include:
- Business opportunities scams
- Chain letter scams
- Work-at-home scams
- Health and diet scams
- Easy money scams
- Investment opportunities
- Guaranteed loans or credit scams
Additionally, scammers often pose as trusted organizations or companies. Common ruses include claiming that there is a problem with your account or your payment information, or claiming that there has been suspicious log-in activity on an account and asking you to confirm personal information.
Concord Police would like to share the following tips from US-CERT to help residents avoid falling victim to email phishing scams:
- Never respond to suspicious emails.
- Don’t open emails from people you don’t know or don’t expect an email from. Pay close attention to the subject line, email address and grammar as these are often preliminary ways to tell that an email is a scam.
- If an email, email attachment or link seems suspicious, do not open it, even if antivirus software indicates that it is safe.
- Install spam filters.
- Install antivirus software and a personal firewall and keep it up to date.
To help people protect themselves from similar scams, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers several tips, including:
- Do not answer texts or calls from unknown numbers.
- Do not share personal, identifying information like Social Security numbers, account numbers, or mother’s maiden names.
- Be wary of anyone who talks quickly and pressures you to make a decision quickly.
- Do not send cash by messenger, overnight mail, or money transfer. If you pay for a product or service with cash or a money transfer, you run a risk of losing the right to dispute fraudulent charges.
Any Concord resident who believes they have been contacted by a potential scammer, or who believes they may have been a victim of such a scam, should contact the Concord Police Department at 978-318-3400