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Scam warning: Don’t click the links

SALEM — The Salem Police Department issued some advice for residents to avoid issues related to a possible phone message and email scam: don’t click on links.

The words of wisdom were part of a report from a complaint filed Tuesday afternoon by a Merle Road resident about an attempted scam.

The scam involved a message sent to the woman’s phone claiming her Amazon account had been charged $700 or $800 dollars for a cell phone and that the link provided in the message needed to be clicked if the charge was not accurate and needed to be stopped.

She did not realize it was a scam and clicked the link, resulting in malware installing onto her phone and mirroring its contents. The report said this further resulted in sensitive data being compromised, including numerous passwords. She notified her bank and was able to prevent any breach of bank accounts. While she suffered no direct financial loss, she learned numerous accounts will have to be closed and reopened, and various numbers changed due to the compromised data.

The report said this particular scam attempt was linked to a company out of Singapore called Moon Pay.

In the report, an officer said it is always best not to use links contained in an email or text message, particularly if the email was not an expected email.

“In this case, the message claimed that a large charge had been made to an Amazon account and provided a link to stop the charge. Rather than clicking the provided link, an individual should instead log into their Amazon account (or whatever account the scam refers to) and verify if any such charge was ever even made.

Typically there has not been any unauthorized charge, it is just a method to get an individual to use the provided link out of fear of their money being lost if they don’t. In truth, clicking the link provides access to the contents of the individuals phone or computer.”

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