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Resist allure of the photo album alert scam

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Your curiosity will likely be sparked if you get a text or email from Google, telling you that someone has shared a photo album with you.

Whose wouldn’t?

But resist following the instructions that say you must click on the link if you want to take a look, the Better Business Bureau advises. It’s actually a phishing scheme that will try to steal your password, the BBB says.

The message looks real, with a convincing URL that appears to be from Google. When you click the “View Photo,” link, it will open your browser and prompt you to log into your Google account.

“If you enter your information, you are giving scammers your username and password,” a BBB alert says. “Con artists can now access your email account as well as any other accounts that use the same login information.”

Some advice:

• Do not click on links in unsolicited messages. The websites that come up often look legitimate, but they may contain viruses.

• Be suspicious if you get a message from a friend that seems off. For example, it’s worded in a strange way or it’s from a work acquaintance “who contacts you out of the blue,” the BBB says.

• Beware of any kind of message that conveys a sense of urgency and says you must do something very soon.

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The state Attorney General’s Office is warning of serial lawsuit scams that target people with disabilities.

“Individuals who bring serial lawsuits claim to have potential clients’ best interests at heart, but they in fact undermine vital protections by bringing illegitimate claims for personal profit,” AG Hector Balderas said in a news release.

The AG’s Office gives this advice:

• Do a search for the company or individual’s name and phone number who is trying to solicit you to see if there are any reports of scam activity.

• Contact local disability rights organizations, as well as the AG’s Office, if you think you have been scammed or that your rights have been violated.

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Online job scams, which are always a threat, have become even more so as people look for work due to COVID-related economic woes.

The Identity Theft Resource Center says it is seeing a rise in scam reports, including ones from Indeed, Zip Recruiter and Facebook. They target people through a fake listing on a job board, a phishing email, robocall, social media message or text message. What they have in common is that they are looking for some kind of response.

“They hope they can trick people who are desperate or vulnerable into giving up sensitive data like usernames and passwords, financial data, or Social Security numbers,” the resource center says. “Once scammers have that information, they can commit many different forms of identity theft.”

Same advice as above: don’t click on any links or open any attachments from an email you are not expecting. Share as little personal data as possible, at least during the application process. Turn over your Social Security number and other details, such as bank account or routing number, only when you are certain you have the job and that it’s legitimate.

Contact Ellen Marks at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210.

 

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