The scammers seem to be working overtime these days. Several new national scams are being actively perpetrated and warnings have gone out.
Walmart recently took special effort to warn customers of what the giant retailer called "an unusually high quality phishing email that tries to get personal and credit information."
On its corporate website the company wrote: "There was a false email sent to a number of people this morning claiming to be from Walmart.com. This email looks like a confirmation of a purchase made on Walmart.com, but is actually a phishing email attempting to gather information from the recipient.
"If you received an email on the morning of May 16th, 2013 with the title “Thanks for your Walmart.com order” from “Wallmart.com” (with two L’s) but you did not place an order, please know that this is NOT from Walmart.com, and appears to be a phishing scam attempting to gather information."
Later in the statement Walmart provided pictures of the scam email and warned "Again, this email is not from Walmart.com and it is important that recipients do not click on any links in the email or respond in any way."
The Federal Trade Commission warns of another scam that is making the rounds; scammers who are using the Affordable Care Act as the basis to try to get people to give them personal information ore money.
According to the FTC warning, potential victims receive a call from someone claiming work for the "new" federal agency that is administering the new health law. This "government" agent tells the potential victim they have been chosen to be included in a test group to immediately receive insurance cards through the new law. But before the card can be sent, the "government agent" needs to get some personal information, such as bank account and social security numbers.
As the Better Business Bureau warns: "Of course, it's a scam. There is no card, and enrollment for insurance under the Affordable Care Act doesn't start until October 1st. Sharing personal information with a scammer puts you at risk for identity theft. Scammers can use the info they obtain to open credit cards in your name or steal from your bank account."
The FTC says "We've heard from consumers and from other federal agencies that scammers are trying to convince people to act now. Scammers always want to get your money before you have time to stop and think. So remember that date: October 1, 2013. That's the first time anyone, anywhere can sign up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.
"And please: if you see someone trying to enroll people for health insurance under the Act before October 1, 2013, say something. We can only investigate the scams we know about, so every report helps us find and stop the bad guys. Thanks in advance!"
The Better Business Bureau ends its new warning with some good advice that applies to any strange calls you might receive.
- Hang up, don't press any buttons and don't call the scammer back. We all like to have the last word, but returning the phone call may just give the con artist information he can use.
- The government typically doesn't call, text or email. Government agencies normally communicate through the mail, so be very cautious of any unsolicited calls, text messages or emails you receive. Also, if the government is contacting you, they should already have your basic personal info, such as address and social security number.
- Don't trust caller ID. Scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen.
- Never give out personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth or social security numbers to unfamiliar callers.