STRAIT AREA: As technology advances and smartphones continue to evolve, one thing has stayed the same, phishing scams seem to adapt right along at the same rate.
In the past week, Nova Scotians have been notified about two separate phishing scams that have started to circulate. The first warning came on July 14 from Nova Scotia Power, and the second, just three days later, was issued by the RCMP.
Tiffany Chase, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia Power, said a text message claiming to be from Nova Scotia Power offering a refund, is a scam designed to trick people into revealing personal information such as account numbers and names.
“We began seeing reports of a new text message scam on Saturday morning being reported both on our Facebook and Twitter handles.”
So far, Nova Scotia Power has received around 10 reports of the fraudulent texts, but because so many were reported within a short period of time, Chase said that usually means a new scam is surfacing.
“So we’re just warning customers that those messages are not from Nova Scotia Power.”
Nova Scotia Power would never ask for financial information via text message. Customers can always call the power utility directly if they want to know the validity of a message.
“We certainly do advise people to check in with us when they receive an unexpected communication,” Chase added.
On July 17, Cpl. Andrew Joyce, a media relations officer with Nova Scotia RCMP, advised in a press release, e-mails have begun to circulate that are trying to gain access to people’s credit card information and personal data.
“RCMP detachments across the province are being informed of e-mails appearing on the surface look to be coming from legitimate companies such as Netflix and Amazon but are actually coming from someone looking to defraud you.”
Cst. Ryan Berry of the Nova Scotia RCMP Financial Crimes Unit explained how to identify if an e-mail is legitimate or not without putting you at risk.
He advised not to click any links or the body of the e-mail.
“The most recent e-mails have the entire body of the email as a clickable link that will take the user to a site that looks very much like Netflix, and ask for billing information to be updated,” Berry said. “If the information is updated, this will give the fraudsters your financial information.”
Recipients can also view the contact at the top of the e-mail.
The sender’s name will display Netflix and appear legitimate, but when you view the contact, it will display the actual e-mail address associated to the scam, Berry said.
“The addresses are always different, but will not be a legitimate e-mail, and will have a domain that does not match with the company. In the example @marvels.com is not what you’d expect to see from a company.”
In any situation, those who receive notification and are unsure at all, the best choice is to contact the company direct to ensure account information is up to date.