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Scam alert: most impersonated companies this year

Scammers pretend to be with a company or service you use
USPS Truck
Posted at 6:00 AM, Apr 22, 2024

Scroll through your recent text messages and e-mails and you'll probably come across an impersonation scam, sometimes called imposter scams.

If you are not familiar with the term, it is where scammers claim to be with a company or service you do business with.

What's most alarming is that the agency impersonated the most is one that stops by your home almost every day of the week, according to a new report.

Ann Loreaux almost fell victim. She is an avid shopper and gets several packages a week delivered to her Victorian home.

"I order a ton of things," she said. "Sometimes I don't know what's coming."

So when she received a text message from the postal service about a problem with a recent delivery, she paid attention.

"It stated that my package was delayed due to an incorrect address," she said. "And it had the logo, and it looked very official."

She was about to respond with her address and other information when she had second thoughts.

"And then, in the back of my mind, I heard your voice," Loreaux said, "warning me so many times about scammers."

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Ann Loreaux

Which businesses and services are targeted the most

The US Postal Service was the top impersonated organization of 2023, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Its new report, based on complaints to the BBB, shows the following services and companies are most impersonated.

  • USPS
  • Amazon
  • Publishers Clearing House
  • GeekSquad
  • Norton Antivirus

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 330,000 reports of business impersonation scams, and nearly 160,00 government impersonation scams, often pretending to be with the IRS or other government agencies.
And while scams that start with a phone call are going down, it said fraud in the form of email and text messages is going up.

Another trend to watch out for is fake subscription renewals — when criminals phish for your information by posing as a recognized company.

Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau said Netflix users may get a message saying "Your subscription has expired, and that puts people in a panic."

Instead, the BBB said to go directly to your account to check your renewal status.

And always keep track of deliveries and auto-renewal payments.

As for the post office, the Postal Inspection Servicestates on its website that USPS will not send customers text messages or e-mails unless they sign up for a tracking request.

Ann Loreaux said these messages can be very convincing.

"I think a lot of people would click on it without even a second thought," she said.

So be suspicious, so you don't waste your money.

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