The emails look legit.
They have the Verizon logo, and some fancy numbers that look like the real deal. But they are part of a scam called "phishing", and once they have you on the hook, you could be in for some real trouble.
The first message arrived at the start of the month, in Bonnie Boeren's email. It warns: "Dear Verizon customer, we were unable to charge your credit card, please update right away."
Another threatens that her Verizon wireless internet could be suspended if Boeren doesn't respond. A third email repeated the message.
Boeren suspected something right away.
"I do not have payment going to verizon through credit cards" said Boeren.
She pays her cell phone bill right out of her checking account.
"It sounded strange, so much so that it concerned me that I thought well, if I'm getting this, other people might be getting it and I just wanted to get the word out so that other wouldn't get this and possible be caught up and get on line and give out some information," Boeren said.
8 On Your Side contacted a Verizon spokesman, who gave these tips to avoid phishing scams:
*Fake emails usually start with a generic greeting, like "dear Verizon customer."
*Scammers have incorrect account information, which is the case in Boeren's emails.
*And they provide real-looking but fake links for you to pay.
Boeren says she learned about scams like this from watching News Channel 8.
"When you get one, two, three, somebody's really phishing for information," she said.
Phishing schemes like this can lure you in if you're not on guard, but be careful and don't take the bait. The scammers in this instance really blew it. They tried to get Boeren to pay for "Verizon wireless internet", which not a real service.
Also, Boeren's cell phone company is Sprint.
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