Email scam targets online shoppers' bank accounts - WNEM TV 5

Email scam targets online shoppers' bank accounts

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A new online email scam could be waiting for you in your inbox right now. The scam targets Cyber Monday shoppers and anyone who is expecting a holiday package.

The scam even allows hackers to control your computer's web camera and access your banking information, so the Better Business Bureau has advice on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

"Scammers are excited just like shoppers are excited," said Kathleen Calligan, with the BBB of Middle Tennessee.

The new scam focuses on the record number packages being shipped on Cyber Monday, the busiest day for online shopping.

It begins with an email sent to your inbox that claims to be a shipping receipt or notice.

"They pose as FedEx or UPS, and you think you're going to see your tracking number. So you click on a link, and that's where everything is going to unravel," Calligan said.

Instead, the email unleashes a dangerous virus.

"While they are dormant, they are tracking every keystroke on your computer," Calligan said.

Hackers can use it to get your credit card numbers and banking information.

One version, called "ransomware," locks your computer from allowing you to use it, and a message urges you to pay a ransom.

"If you have a camera, it can actually watch you. It can shut your computer down," Calligan said.

Because there's no easy way to tell the difference between a fake email and a legitimate one, security experts say you should avoid them altogether.

Instead, go to the mail carrier's website and enter your tracking number.

"Access the information yourself, not through an email that's been sent to you," Calligan advises.

More ways to protect yourself including isolating your online shopping to one computer and avoid clicking on pop-up advertisements.

Seeing many pop-up ads could be a sign your computer is infected.

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