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Phishing scams on the rise – Beware of scammers during holiday season

November 7, 2022

The holiday season is around the corner and with it lurks cybercriminals looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.

The Officer of the Inspector General at the Social Security Administration reported in May of this year that its office is warning the public to be skeptical of email or text messages claiming to be from a government or law enforcement agency.

“These scams primarily use telephone to contact you, but scammers may also use email, text message, social media, or U.S. mail,” the IOG said in a press release. “Scammers pretend to be from an agency or organization you know to gain your trust. Scammers say there is a problem or a prize. Scammers pressure you to act immediately. Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way.”

Scammers often impersonate individuals within an organization, and these spoofs are becoming increasingly clever, often stealing full names and email signatures in an attempt to look legitimate. Always check the domain name to confirm the email is coming from the correct source and never trust an email claiming the sender needs you to pick them up a gift card or send them money.

The Federal Trade Commission has a list of ways to protect yourself from phishing, including enabling multi-factor authentication on your accounts that offer it. This is especially beneficial for bank accounts or any other app you use for financial transactions.

No one on staff at the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association will ask for money via email or text. Do not click on links or open documents that look suspicious or come from an unknown or untrustworthy source. Delete all suspected email or text scams immediately and stay vigilant.

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