If you get a text or email saying your account is compromised, don't pay to fix it

It starts with an email or text but quickly turns into a scam that's after your money.

This scam continues to hit consumers hard, and if you're not careful just one call or click of the mouse could cost you.

Many ABC11 viewers shared emails and text messages that appear to be from Amazon, PayPal, or even your bank. The messages claim a purchase was made on your account, or that your account was compromised. You're then prompted to click a link or call to secure your account.

The problem, these emails, and calls are not really coming from a legit company, instead, it's all a scam.

"Scammers really prey on the fact that they're making people nervous or they're causing them to panic. So it is always important to really take that time, take a second, breathe and go about it the right way with the steps that you know to be true," Alyssa Parker with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina said.

One ABC11 viewer lost $16,000 to this scam when she got this email claiming a purchase was made on her amazon account.

One sure sign it's a scam, look at the sender's email address, you can see it's not coming from Amazon. If you get one of these emails or calls, don't click on any links, or call the number listed in the email. If you're asked to buy gift cards and read the numbers off the back, that's a sure sign it's a scam.

Also right now scammers are asking you to transfer money through Zelle, which is a banking app. Anytime you get a call or email from someone you don't know asking you to use Zelle, the red flags should go up. Instead, you look up the phone number to your bank, credit card and call them.

A Triangle woman had $20,000 drained from her bank account after getting a fraud alert that she thought was from her bank. Instead, it was scammers pulling off an elaborate scam.

Here are tips from the BBB to avoid losing your money when it comes to claims about fake compromised accounts.

Be extra cautious with unsolicited calls, emails, and texts. Don't be quick to believe claims from unsolicited communications.

Understand how businesses handle communications. If you know how disputes and suspicious activity is handled, it will be easier to spot a scam. For example, PayPal clearly states that it will never send you an email asking you for sensitive information like your password or ask you to download attachments or software.

Look into the claims. Don't take action without first verifying the claims. Log into your account or look up the company's official phone number (check your bill or welcome email) and call them to confirm that there really is a case of suspicious activity associated with your account before you decide what to do.

Don't panic and don't feel intimidated. Scammers want you to panic. They may use intimidation tactics to pressure you into giving up your personal information or making payments. Legitimate businesses will not intimidate you in this way. Stay calm and think things through before you act.

Never give your personal information to strangers. If you aren't speaking or corresponding with someone you know and trust, don't give them sensitive information.
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