Collier Mosquito Control Scammed Out of $100k… Are You Protected?

Another day, another scam, but this time it wasn’t people like you and me who were duped – it was a county agency.

 

Scammers got almost $100,000 from the Collier County Mosquito Control District last month from a phishing scam. Luckily the money that was scammed was insured, but that got us thinking if this happens to me or you… Would you be as lucky?

The Federal Trade Commission says phishing scams happen when scammers send fraudulent emails that trick you into giving personal information like bank account numbers, credit card accounts or your social security number. They can use that information to steal your money, your identity, or both.

“It’s an email that’s coming into your inbox that really isn’t for you or for business purposes – it’s just a scam designed to get access to your computer or your server”- Eva Velasquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center

But when it comes to protecting yourself from these “phishermen,” there are some ways you can avoid the bait:

  1. If you think an email looks fishy, pick up the phone and call the company you’re supposedly getting an email from, but make sure you don’t use the phone number that’s provided in the email.
  2. Get security software! Make sure it has anti-virus, anti-spam, and spyware detection so you can be fully protected, especially if you make frequent financial transactions.
  3. When you make those transactions, check to see if you’re using a secure webpage. You can tell a page is secure if it has a closed padlock in the status bar and the URL starts with “HTTPS”, not just “HTTP”.

Another way to stay safe from scams is by keeping a tab on your financial statements. Make sure the transactions on record are ones you’ve actually made.

 

“This is a really tricky space and we all need professional help, you shouldn’t be ashamed if you don’t know about everything you encounter. There are tons of free resources”- Eva Velasquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center

The FTC recommends that you report a phishing email by forwarding it to spam@uce.gov and to the company/organization that’s being impersonated. You can also file a report at FTC.gov/complaint To learn more about how to protect your self from phishing scams you can visit the Federal Trade Commission.

Reporting by Jalyn Henderson

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