It says you ordered Norton antivirus protection for $171.
Or it’s a warning that your McAfee subscription will auto renew at $499.
It could also be a receipt for a $619 projector screen you bought at Target.
They are real texts and emails and the people who received them didn’t order any of it.
So, they call the customer service phone number provided.
But the texts and emails were fakes.
The customer service phone number goes right to scammers who hope to get into your bank account and take as much as they can.
And don’t think you’re safe just because you didn’t get a text or email.
When you need a customer service number, do find it online?
Patty let me know she wanted to “update her payment information” with Amazon.
She says she “asked Google for the phone number” and they answered Amazon Prime.
Federico let me know he had to make a return and also found an Amazon number online.
But the numbers weren’t really Amazon.
I recently searched for Best Buy Geek Squad online.
And I found a “.org” website that claimed to be Best Buy.
That’s even what the representative told me when I called.
When he wanted remote access to my computer, I didn’t go any further.
Best Buy tells me that site is not related to them.
To protect yourself, never click on email or text links and avoid blind internet searches for customer service.
Legitimate business websites usually have the business name followed by “.com.”
Beware of variations of business names and don’t give remote computer access to people you don’t know.
Unfortunately, Patty did allow her fake Amazon workers access to her computer.
She says “next thing I know he purchased games and cleaned out my bank account.”
Federico also lost $1400.
His phone scammers got him to send the money through Zelle.
Once you do that, the money is gone.
The Federal Trade Commission warns about customer service scams.
And if you’re a problem solver, consider joining our Let Joe Know Better Business Bureau volunteer team.
If you have one day a week, are a self-starter and like helping people, it could be a rewarding experience.
Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.