You’ve got a question… what do you do? If you’re like me, you turn to the internet. I often believe that I can find the answer to anything online. That’s what’s makes this new scam so scary. Scammers are using our urge to find information online to set up unsuspecting victims. They are setting up fake websites and customer service lines that seem to be associated with big name companies.

Here’s how you can avoid this scam:

Start with the URL (if you can)– If you know a company’s official web address, start your search for phone numbers and information there. Look for a “Contact Us” page or something similar. If you can’t find a link on the main page, scroll to the bottom and look in the fine print. You may also be able to locate contact details using a site map if one’s available. It might take time to find contact details from the main company website, but it is a lot safer than calling a random number you find using a search.

First Isn’t Always Best– How do you find the right website for a particular company? Hint: it isn’t always the first web address you find. Scammers may use familiar looking variations of a company’s name or website address. The first phone number or website you find might not be legitimate, as these placements are often for sale on search engines. (Note: you can find TDS at or call them at 1-888-CALL-TDS)

There Isn’t Always a Phone Number– Some of us like to call companies with our problems, but as more and more companies embrace the internet, this isn’t always an option. Be aware that there may not be a toll free number available. Some companies choose to limit their communications to online chats, emails, etc. Others ask consumers to enter a phone number to receive a call back.

Keep Your Credit Card to Yourself– If you do call a number you find online, be cautious with your card information. Once they have you on the line, scammers will try to lower your defenses so you provide personal information or credit card details. Keep the information you share to a minimum.

Things you find online aren’t always true. Be careful when searching to avoid scams like this one.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

allclearIDGuest blogger: Guest blogger: Jackie, from AllClearID. TDS ID Protection for adults and children are powered by AllClearID.

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