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Frauds and Scams

Intro - Frauds and Scams


Fraud can occur online and offline. Understanding types of fraud and what makes you vulnerable can help prevent you from becoming a victim. Here you’ll find information on current frauds, common billing scams, phone scams and tips on how to protect yourself.

Verizon also offers several security products to help protect your data and devices from cyber criminals and other threats.

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Internet Security (Antivirus Software)

Verizon’s Internet Security offers one comprehensive security solution which helps protect all covered devices (including smartphones and tablets) from online threats like viruses, spyware and malware.

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Digital Security Pro

The Digital Security Pro suite of products combines traditional device-based security, identity theft protection and advanced parental controls to ensure your connected experience is as safe as possible.

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LifeLock® Select monitors the use of your personal information and sends you alerts through its patented alert† system so you can rest easy knowing your identity has protection.

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Get peace of mind with our Device Protection, knowing your TVs, laptops, PCs and tablets are covered for repairs and replacement should something happen to them.

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Safeguard your identity and your connected devices. TechSure offers 24/7 technical support, identity, device and privacy protection.

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Wireless Security & Protection Products 

Wireless Security & Privacy

Security & Privacy is a security app for your mobile device that helps protect it from malicious apps, spyware and other potential threats to your privacy. It's powered by McAfee. There are two versions of this app:

  • Security & Privacy Single Device - Covers only your individual Verizon mobile device. The app is already installed on Android™ Verizon devices, and it’s included with your Verizon Wireless service for no additional charge.
  • Security & Privacy Multi-Device - Extends this security service to other eligible devices in your household and on your Verizon Wireless account, including computers and mobile devices on other carriers. It’s available for a monthly fee.

Verizon Wireless Security and Privacy App 

Total Mobile Protection

Verizon offers comprehensive coverage for loss, theft, or damage to your device and unlimited access to Tech Coach experts to solve virtually any issue with your device.

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Identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number or other confidential information to open new accounts, make purchases or get a tax refund. This can occur by way of a phone call or an email from an allegedly legitimate business or individual. It might even happen when someone searches your trash for mail containing personal information and credit card receipts. In many cases, a pre-approved credit card application gives the criminal enough information to set up a credit card in your name.
Tips to protect yourself from identity theft:
  • Closely guard all of your personal information.
  • Unless you are absolutely certain you know the person or business you're talking to, be suspicious, ask questions and ask for callback information.
  • Shred all documents, credit cards and applications before placing them in the trash.
  • Check your credit annually through a major credit bureau.

"Phishing" and "smishing" are designed to steal information by posing as a legitimate company. Criminals attempt to con or mislead individuals into providing personal information in many ways, including by email, text message and scam phone calls that appear to be from a legitimate business. Personal information that may be requested includes:

  • Credit card information

  • Account passwords

  • Account information

  • Other valuable information

Tips to protect yourself from phishing:
  • Check for misspelled words in the email and closely examine the return address.

  • Unless you have pre-enrolled with a company to do business via email, be suspicious.

  • Contact the company you normally do business with and ask them to verify the request.


A form of social engineering known as financial pretexting is when someone under false pretenses tries to get your personal information to gain access to your cash and credit. Criminals use this tactic because it is usually easier to exploit your natural inclination to trust than it is to discover ways to hack your software. Examples of pretexting:

  • Phone call: "Hi [your name], this is your bank. I see some unusual activity on your account. I need to confirm this is you so can you please provide your card number so I can confirm it."

  • Recorded message: "This message is an important reminder for [your name]. Recently, somebody attempted to change the password of your [company] account. A temporary PIN was provided.  If you did not request this temporary PIN, please call us immediately at [number]."

  • Email: "After your last tax filing, we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $180. To access your tax refund, use the following personalized link [fake link]."

Tips to avoid a financial pretexting scam:
  • Slow down. Criminals want you to act first and think later. 

  • Do your homework:  Be suspicious of any unsolicited messages. Hackers can pretend to be from companies you know and use, so be sure before you click. Or better yet, go directly to the site in a web browser first. If you’re not expecting an email attachment or link, call or text the person who sent it to ensure it was really them

  • Reject requests for help or offers of help. If you receive a request for help from a charity that you do not have a relationship with, delete it. 


Computer worms, viruses and other malicious programs can destroy or steal data and personal information. Without your knowledge, hackers can use these viruses to harvest your personal information, steal your money, credit and identity. While most legitimate websites do not cause these viruses or infections, there are many websites that have been compromised without the website owner’s knowledge.

Tips to protect yourself against worms, viruses and other malicious programs:
  • Reduce the chance that your computers will be infected by these harmful programs by keeping anti-virus software up-to-date.
  • Install security patches and updates as recommended by the companies that created your Operating System (e.g. Windows or macOS) and other software vendors (e.g. Adobe and Microsoft).

Credit card number theft involves a phone call or email from someone acting as a representative from a legitimate company. The caller will try to convince you that they need your credit card number to check your account. However, he or she will use this information to illegally run up charges on your card.

Tips to protect yourself from credit card theft:
  • Treat your credit card like it is cash.
  • Be suspicious and ask lots of questions; just hang up or don't respond to the email.
  • The only time you should provide your credit card number is when you are actually buying something from a trusted company.
  • Check your credit annually through a major credit bureau.

You receive an email from someone claiming to represent a foreign government or someone formerly involved with a foreign government. The person will claim that, through a change in leadership or death, he or she has been left with a large amount of money. They will ask your help getting the money out of the country, and if you help you can receive a large share of the money. The message will go on to ask you to respond to the email with bank account information and other personal information to help set up the transfer.

Tips to protect yourself from the overseas money transfer scam: 
  • Ignore the email. Hit the delete button. It is too good to be true.

Slamming occurs when a telephone company changes your service provider without your consent or knowledge. Slamming methods can include: “free trials,” signing up for marketing promotions without reading the fine print and offers for credit cards or giveaways.

Cramming is a form of fraud in which a company places unauthorized and miscellaneous charges on your bill. This could involve a charge for a voicemail service, Internet access services or other service charges.

Tips to protect yourself against slamming and cramming:
  • Don't sign up for marketing promotions without reading the terms and conditions before signing up for anything that will be charged to your landline or wireless telephone service.

  • Review all your bills carefully and make sure you understand all charges. Be on the look out for unfamiliar company names, calls you did not make and services you did not order.

  • Understand your phone bill terminology. Verizon customers can use this handy glossary to understand the taxes, fees, surcharges and other charges they may see on their bills.


Third-party billing occurs when an operator calls you asking whether the charges for a call being placed by someone you know can be placed on your phone bill. Often, the operator will repeat a persuasive argument from the third-party and try to convince you that the person is in trouble. If you accept the third-party charges, you will find the charges on your bill.

Tips to protect yourself from third-party billing:
  • Never accept the charges unless you are absolutely certain you know the person.

  • Ask questions and be suspicious. Most phone companies will allow you to place a "block" on your phone, preventing such charges from being assessed.


An operator calls to inform you that an inmate is attempting to call you from a correctional facility. If you accept the call and associated charges, the inmate convinces you to hang up, dial *72 and another phone number. *72 is the code used to forward incoming calls to another number. The inmate will continue to make additional collect calls to your number, but the calls will be forwarded to someone he or she knows. These charges will be billed to you.

Tips to protect yourself against the *72 prison scam:
  • Never accept collect calls unless you are absolutely sure you know the person calling.
  • Never activate call forwarding unless you need to do it for your own reasons and to a number you know.

Under the 809 scam, you might receive an email or text message urgently asking you to call someone in the "809" area code or some other area code that you normally don't call. If you make the call, you may be unwittingly dialing into an expensive overseas pay-per-call service resulting in large charges being placed on your next phone bill.

Tips to protect yourself from an 809 scam:
  • If you don't recognize the phone number or area code, don't return the call.
  • In general, don't respond to such a message in any situation unless you are absolutely sure you know the person or the number you are calling.

A 9-0# scam preys on businesses that use PBX systems or other types of telecommunication systems where you have to dial "9" to get an outside line. A fraudster will call the main number at a business and identify themselves as an employee of the phone company. To perform a system check, the caller will ask the receptionist to initiate a conference call and then press 9 plus 0, which accesses an outside line. The receptionist is then asked to hang up. Often, this leaves the caller with access to the outside line, where he or she can make fraudulent long distance calls that are billed to the business.

Tips to protect yourself from the 9-0# scam: 
  • Hang up the phone or ask pointed questions, including requesting a callback number.

A person uses your calling card number to make their own calls while you pay the bill. The theft happens when someone calls posing as a representative of your phone company and asks for your calling card number for verification purposes.

How to protect yourself against calling card number theft:
  • Protect your calling card number the same way you would protect your credit card information.
  • Commit your PIN to memory; don't carry the PIN for your calling card in your wallet.
  • Ask questions and ask for a callback number. In most cases, the caller will hang up.

You receive a call from an operator asking you to accept an urgent collect call. While most customers won't accept a call if they don't recognize the name, some do because they worry it might be from a friend or relative who is in trouble. Once you agree to accept the call, you will be billed for the charges.

How to protect yourself from a collect calling scam:
  • Never accept a collect call from someone you don't know.
  • If you are unsure, request that the operator ask the caller a few questions to determine the identity of the caller. Most of the time, these additional questions will cause the person making the call to hang up.

People identifying themselves as U.S. Court employees call to inform you that you have been selected for jury duty. The caller asks you to verify names, Social Security Numbers and credit card information. If the request is refused, he or she may threaten you with fines and prosecution for failing to comply with jury duty.

Tips to protect yourself from a jury duty telephone scam:
  • If you receive one of these phone calls, do not provide any personal or confidential information. Federal courts do not require anyone to provide sensitive information in a telephone call.
  • If you have given out your personal information, contact your local FBI office. It is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official.