If you get a call, text or email claiming that your Amazon, Netflix, Paypal or any account has been compromised and action is needed, don't panic.  It's likely a scam.

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of scams involving alleged "compromised accounts".  The communication can look legitimate and will they'll try to scare you into thinking that you must follow their instructions in order to protect your personal information.

In reality, the instructions they provide are what really will put your personal information in jeopardy.  For example, they may instruct you to click on a link to verify your account information by entering your username and password.  Once you do that, they have access to your accounts.

Another example is they will encourage you to download special "security software" to your phone or computer to protect your account.  This software is actually malware that gives them access to you personal information.

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If you ever get notification of a "compromised account", don't instantly click on any accompanying link or follow their instructions. Instead, the Better Business Bureau offers these tips to protect yourself:

  • Be extra cautious with unsolicited calls, emails, and texts. Don’t be quick to believe claims from unsolicited communications.
  • Understand how businesses handle communications. If you know how disputes and suspicious activity is handled, it will be easier to spot a scam. For example, PayPal clearly states that they will never send you an email asking you for sensitive information like your password or ask you to download attachments or software.
  • Look into the claims. Don’t take action without first verifying the claims. Log into your account or look up the company’s official phone number (check your bill or welcome email) and call them to confirm that there really is a case of suspicious activity associated with your account before you decide what to do.
  • Don’t panic and don’t feel intimidated. Scammers want you to panic. They may use intimidation tactics to pressure you into giving up your personal information or making payments. Legitimate businesses will not intimidate you in this way. Stay calm and think things through before you act.
  • Never give your personal information to strangers. If you aren’t speaking or corresponding with someone you know and trust, don’t give them sensitive information.

If you do your due diligence and keep those tips in mind, you should be able to stop these scammers from ripping you off.

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