On Your Side Alert: Fake email promises Starbucks gift card

Published: Oct. 29, 2014 at 4:19 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 8, 2014 at 9:49 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Crooks are blasting out phony emails claiming a major telephone company is offering you a gift card, If you reply, you'll get burned.

Most people enjoy a cup of coffee. and cyber crooks hope your fix for the beverage, will cloud your judgment. They're betting you'll be quick to reply to a bogus email.  It looks real enough and claims AT&T is offering you a $20 Starbucks gift card. There is even a security code. The email says all you have to do is click a link, print the offer and take it to Starbucks.

Well, there is no coffee or gift card waiting on you. AT&T says the email offer is not from them. The company confirms it's a scam that will install a virus on your computer if you click the link. AT&T reminds consumers that crooks can easily make an email look like it's coming from a legitimate company.

AT&T recommends the following tips to protect yourself against "phishing:"

•    Be aware that email headers can be forged easily, so the posing sender may not be the real sender.

•    Avoid providing or filling out forms via email because the data is not secure.

•    Realize that Internet scammers can create realistic forgeries of websites, so avoid clicking on links in an unsolicited email message. Go directly to the company's website and fill out information there.

•    Ensure that a website is secure by checking to see whether there is an "s" after the "http" in the address bar on your screen, and a lock icon at the bottom of the screen. Both are indicators that the site is secure.

•    Don't forget, these threats can occur on mobile devices as well. Use the Lookout app to protect your mobile device against viruses, malware and spyware. With Lookout, you can browse, download, shop, and pay with confidence. Lookout is available preloaded on select AT&T devices. A version of Lookout is available for download from Google Play or iTunes.

As for the fake email, cyber experts say if you fall for it, it will install a virus on your computer and crooks will be able to steal your passwords and send you other fake emails. When it comes to what's in your inbox, always be skeptical.

If you think you've been a victim, make sure to run your anti-virus and keep an on your accounts for an irregular activity.


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