NBC10- Harry Hairston
There's an internet scheme targeting parents with young kids that are heading back to school. Cyber crime experts say if you fall for it, it could cost you big bucks. The scheme preys on parents by asking for pennies to help fight child obesity. But as NBC10 Investigative reporter Harry Hairston explains, it's not that money these criminals are really after.
Back-to-school time can be a busy and frantic time for parents and that's exactly why some cyber criminals use this time to strike.
"It's a classic phishing scheme," says Robert D'Ovidio, a cyber crime expert from Drexel University.
NBC10 showed D'Ovidio an email being sent out to parents, asking them to pay 85 cents per child to help fight obesity in schools.
The email references the national company "EZSchool-Pay," a site that some parents use to pay their child's school fees. But the email asks them to make the payment to "EZSchool-Online."
While it might seem like a small amount of money to pay, experts say it's not that money these criminals are after.
"It's the information that they're asking for, that you're providing, the social security number and the credit card number," says D'Ovidio.
The criminals can then use that personal information to steal your identity.
NBC10 contacted the legitimate company "EZSchool-Pay," a Canadian-based firm. The company says they've received complaints from California, Maryland, New York and our area.
The phishing site located in China was shut down, but experts say that doesn't mean you can let your guard down.
"These sites are taken down quickly and then re-appear on a different server targeting different school districts and that's how they survive," says D'Ovidio.
Cyber crime experts say to protect yourself, be sure to carefully read any email you receive and you can also turn on your phishing filter on your computer to make sure you don't get these types of emails.