Free car, load of cash among schemes as phishing scams explode, report says

Consumer Watch

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There’s been a dramatic increase in scams during the past year where con artists send out emails and texts hoping to reel in victims. It’s called phishing.

Now there’s a warning about one phishing scam that uses a new car and promises of free cash to reel you in. The scam is pretty blatant about what it wants from you if you know what to look for. 

Who wouldn’t want a new car and a load of cash to boot?

That’s the promise made by a new phishing email that says you’ve won a special BMW lottery, which includes a check for $3.5 million.

It said you were selected at random from 250,000 email addresses worldwide.

The email claims the lottery was approved by the British Gaming Board and licensed by the International Association of Gaming Regulators to make it sound official and legitimate.

It says all you need to do is reply to the email with the following information:

  • Your name 
  • Address 
  • Nationality 
  • Age 
  • Occupation 
  • Present country 
  • Email address  
  • A pin code number

“If you do happen to fall for one of these phishing scams, the consequences can be pretty severe,” said CBS News Tech Reporter Dan Patterson. 

How severe? With that list, you’ve just handed the criminals everything they need to commit fraud using your identity. They don’t have to piece together your personal info from various sources because it’s all there for them in one neat package. 

The feds have been tracking phishing scams and for 2020, the FBI said it received almost a quarter of a million complaints about phishing scams with victims losing around $54 million.

What happens if you’ve fallen for a phishing scam and had your identity stolen?

The Federal Trade Commission has a checklist of what to do and whom to contact. It includes everything from what to do if your social security number is stolen to how to deal with a bank account that’s been compromised. It also offers a 40-page downloadable recovery plan for anyone whose identity has been stolen.

Experts said the key to recovering from identity theft is to act fast, so if you’ve been victimized– get on it.

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