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Possible scam targeting Verizon customers

The Missouri Attorney General’s office is warning consumers to be aware of fraudulent text messages and emails they may be receiving from their phone company.

While officials haven’t received any formal complaints of suspicious messages claiming to be from Verizon Wireless, they say it’s very similar to a number of other scams they’ve been dealing with recently involving utility companies and banks.

“The most troubling one recently is designed to steal personal information,said Joe Bindbeutel, Chief Counsel of Consumer Protection. “It’s not designed to steal money from you directly.”

One scam attempt goes directly to your text message inbox.

Verizon Wireless customers may receive a text message, which states they have received a bonus to their account. The message asks customers to log in to their account from a fake Verizon website to claim the bonus.

The fraudulent website looks very similar to the real Verizon Wireless homepage. The only difference between the two websites is the number one attached to the end of the fake URL.

“These websites get more and more sophisticated and it’s cheaper and cheaper frankly to put them together. They might not be exactly what Verizon website looks like, but frankly it’s good enough. “

A simple domain search shows the website was created just two days ago and was even updated on October 1.

Tracy Perkins, with the Cyber Crimes Task Force at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, advises to never click on suspicious website links sent through text messages or emails.

She also said it’s helpful to pay attention to the website URL. Web pages that begin with “https” indicate the site is safe and secure.

Bindbeutel said just your phone account information is enough for thieves to get a hold of more personal information.

“Most of these scams want you to give them something more than that – last four digits of your social, a date of birth, maybe a family member’s name, something like that,” Bindbeutel said. “They can use any of those bits of information to take advantage of you.”

If you do receive a fraudulent message claiming to be from Verizon, Bindbeutel said it’s best to contact the Attorney General’s Office as well as the phone company.

Any emails with scam links should be forwarded to and text message scams should sent to Verizon Corporate Security at 7726. Then delete the fraudulent message.

“If those folks are alerted, they can watch their network a lot better than we can from here,” he said.

To file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office call 1-800-392-8222.

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