The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning of a new phishing scam that is finding its way into the email inboxes of many people.
According to the BBB, the fake email is remarkably similar to the real alerts Verizon sends to its wireless customers as a reminder to pay their monthly bill. The agency has received numerous complaints, nationwide, about this scam.
ABC News reported thousands of Verizon Wireless customers have received this scam in their inbox, and a percentage of recipients unknowingly paid the bill, thinking it was legitimate.
According to ABC News, Karen Littman, a longtime Verizon customer, received such a mail. She thought initially it was legitimate.
"It says your current bill for your account is now available online for My Verizon," she said. That made sense, as did the figure, which appeared to be just a couple of dollars more than her normal bill. "My normal bill is $120," Littman said, "so this just looked like a decimal point in the wrong spot."
Then she realized it said she owed $1,200, and also that the email address was from cAccountNotify@verizonwireless.com, slightly off from Verizon's legitimate email address (another version of the scam reports the scammers inserted a "w" before the email address).
Detecting scams is sometimes easy, but as phishermen get more savvy, sometimes it is hard to differentiate a fake email or website from the real deal. Examining the email address is one way to check, but even then sometimes it is hard to tell as businesses often use multiple email addresses depending upon what the email's subject is.
Another telltale sign of this particular scam is the "amount due" generally cites a large amount of money, much higher than a regular bill. BBB also notes if you hover over the hyperlink you can see the real destination of the URL, and it is not to Verizon's website.
Better Business Bureau
Example of email phishing scam. Better Business Bureau shows how to tell a spoofed Verizon email.
Verizon is no stranger to targeted emails where scammers try and swindle the company's customers. In 2011 the company warned of a scam where scammers attempted to convince Verizon customers they needed to verify their account.
Recipients of a potentially spoofed email are being advised to contact Verizon directly to see if the email is a fake or legitimate.
Unfortunately, Verizon is not the only company to see this type of scam.
Fraudsters commonly target large companies in the hopes their scam emails will hit a percentage of people who actually are customers of the business, and may trust the email. Some frauds are designed better than others, like this current Verizon scam. It's a good idea to familiarize and learn how to identify phishing fraud in an email, usually there are several warning signs.