Don't fall for this two-factor authentication con during your online shopping

In this, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, file photo illustration, a person types on a laptop, in Miami. Photo: AP/Wilfredo Lee
In this, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, file photo illustration, a person types on a laptop, in Miami.

November 23, 2018 07:51 PM

The Better Business Bureau is warning shoppers to be wary of a two-factor authentication scam when you're doing online shopping this weekend and especially on Cyber Monday.

The BBB reports scammers have devised a way to impersonate two-step authentication measures to steal login information and access accounts.


The scam is deceptive because it starts as an email or text message saying there was suspicious activity on a user's account and says action is needed to verify your identity. 

The BBB says since "you set up two-factor authentication, an extra security measure that requires you to confirm logins from new devices, so the message doesn't seem suspicious."

The second step in the verification process can happen in one of two ways. One version of the scam asks for an authentication code. Sending that code gives the hacker access to your account.

The second version asks users to click on a link to confirm their identity, then downloads malware to the device. This allows thieves access to all your personal information, keystroke history and other sensitive information.

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The BBB gives the following tips: 

  • Never reply to a text message with your authentication code. A legitimate company will never ask you to text them a code they just sent you.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious account activity. If you didn't try to log into an account, you should not have received an email or text message about it. Someone may have gotten hold of your username and password. Change your password immediately.
  • Don't click on links in unsolicited emails. If you receive an unexpected email, even if it is from a company you know and trust, take a closer look. Many scammers use stolen logos from familiar stores and banks to create emails that seem real.

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Theresa Malloy

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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