The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued an alert about a scam that could reach countless Verizon Wireless customers (scam alert@council.bbb.org; “Robo Calls Fool Verizon Customers with Fake Credit”; November 15).    It’s a phishing scam that will sound and look very real so Verizon Wireless customers really need to be ready to defend against it.

Per the BBB, here’s how the scam works:

  • A robo call comes to a Verizon Wireless customer’s cell phone;
  • It’s a recording telling the customer that he’s got a credit on his Verizon Wireless account;
  • The recording instructs the customer that there’s a special website he’s got to go to in order to claim the credit;
  • Anyone going to the URL provided will find a website that looks very close to the legitimate Verizon site — same colors, logo and other characteristics;
  • Once there, the customer’s instructed to enter his account username, password and/or credit card information.

The BBB says one tipoff about this fake website is that the amount of credit the customer is supposedly owed matches the URL provided. The BBB says, for example, the customer will be instructed that his $123.00 credit can be claimed by going to vzw123.com.

BBB also warns consumers that it’s very easy to steal the logos, colors, headers and other “brand” identifiers of a legitimate business.  They urge consumers to really look closely at the URL since scammers are able to make the one for their phishing website look very similar to the one for the legitimate business they’re impersonating.

As BBB noted, the scam keeps changing as the phishing websites get closed by various authorities.  But that only means the scammers come up with new scams, not that they give up.  So keep remembering these important final points from the BBB:

  • Do contact the legitimate business to see if the offer (or other reason for the contact) is real; and
  • Don’t go to any URL, or provide any of the personal information requested, when you’ve got a doubt.

It’s better to take the time to be sure than regret not having done so.