These scammers are getting good.
Some Verizon Wireless customers who receive their statements online are getting all bug-eyed to discover that they owe 10 times or more what they're used to paying. Only it's not real – it's a scam. It's almost a perfect replica of a real online bill from the carrier, with one exception.
At the top, instead of saying "Your current bill for your account ending in [account number] is now available online in My Verizon," the fake statement says, "Your current bill for your account is now available online in My Verizon," the Mesquite (Nev.) Citizen Journal points out. Essentially, the missing account number – which, obviously, the scammers don't know – is the only thing that differentiates the genuine email from the fake one.
With an abnormally high balance, many customers are prone to click on the links provided to see what the heck is going on. But doing so isn't a great idea. These types of "phishing" scams try to prod you for personal information that could end up leading to identity theft or worse.
If customers have any concerns about what's real and what's not, going directly to the carrier's website – not via an email link – is the way to go.
When alerted to a similar scam earlier this year by Richmond, Va.'s NBC12, VzW said, "We are investigating a phishing attack involving a bogus email disguised as a Verizon Wireless online bill notification statement. The fake emails notify the customer on an unusually high balance due. Verizon Wireless did not send these emails. Anyone who receives an email of this nature should not click on any links. Instead, customers are advised to access their account via their internet browser at the www.verizonwireless.com url."