THE CONCERN: Trying to buy a home? Get a new job? Take out a loan? Then you care about your credit score. Scammers know this, and they are using related scare tactics to get consumers to give up sensitive personal information.
HOW THE SCAMS WORKS: You receive an email from a top credit reporting company (such as TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax) asserting there is a problem with your credit report. The email contains the logos of the companies it claims to represent and looks legitimate. The email says there is a problem with your credit score, perhaps due to a security breach, and your score has been updated.
You want to find out what happened! The email prompts you to click a link or download a PDF to view your new credit score. When you click, you could unknowingly download malware to your computer, giving scammers access to your system.
HOW TO AVOID CREDIT SCORE SCAMS:
- Be suspicious of unsolicited emails. If you think the correspondence is real, confirm it by visiting the company’s official website or calling them. Just be sure to find the phone number on their website, not in the potential scam email.
- Don’t click on links when you are not sure of the sender. Never click on links in suspicious emails or text messages.
- Never give in to fear. Scammers want you to panic and take immediate action. Stay vigilant, ask questions, and do your research before making a decision.
- Review your credit report. Order your free credit report once a year from each of the three major reporting agencies from AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. Review your report to be certain it doesn’t include accounts that you have not opened.