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Consumer Alert:
Scammers Replicate Verizon's Email Bill Alerts

Consumers nationwide are receiving fake emails that are almost identical to the real email alerts Verizon sends out to its customers, to remind them of their monthly payments, according to the Better Business Bureau.

The scam emails recreate the look and feel of an actual email from Verizon. They include the company's graphics and the standard text used in Verizon emails.

Only the large bill amounts (upwards of $500) and links to third party websites serve as red flags to indicate these emails are a scam.

"These fake Verizon emails show yet again that technology makes it easier than ever for con artists to create phony emails, legal documents, and even websites that mimic those of real businesses or government entities," Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said. "Consumers must be more careful than ever. Never make a payment, or send someone your bank account or credit card information, without first stopping to verify that the communication you received is real."

The Better Business Bureau issued a similar alert about the Verizon Bill Scam.

It notes that you can spot a fake email by "hovering" your computer's cursor over the links and checking whether the URL leads to Verizon's website or, in a scam email, to a third-party site. It also includes a screen shot of a scam email that shows how hovering over a link reveals its real destination.

Director Kanefsky added that consumers should protect themselves by independently verifying the accuracy of any letter or email that purports to come from a trusted business or a government agency. Do not call any phone numbers that may be listed in the letter or email, and do not send information via any link or email address, without first verifying that the communication is real.

You can do that, for example, by separately looking up Verizon's customer service number, and asking a customer service rep whether the email you received really came from Verizon.

In February, April, and March of this year, the Division of Consumer Affairs and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have warned consumers about similar scams in which con artists send out official-looking documents that purport to come from government agencies.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey ) or 973-504-6200.

Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook, and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events.

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