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VERIFY: Are scams following massive data breaches?

What you need to know to protect yourself.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — It started with a Facebook comment.

Carol S. Streeter typed, "Equifax is sending out notices...saying you need to call them by a certain day or your extended warranty will be no good...oh and wait... the cost you paid is not enough."

Is that notice legitimate or just another identity threat in the wake of some massive, high-profile data breaches around the country?

"Literally, if you have a pulse, you have a risk of getting your identity stolen," said Jason Blankenship with the Better Business Bureau.

He says that notice Streeter got is right out of a scam artist's playbook.

"There's going to be a scam here in the next couple weeks, people calling on behalf of Equifax saying, 'Hey, you've been hacked. We can get you back right, but we just need a little bit of money,'" said Blankenship. "That is not going to happen."

At least it's not going to happen from a legitimate company.

According to him, the same goes for written notices and emails -- if a company that was just breached asks you for money, it's almost always a scam.

Add in the fact that Carol's notice talked about a warranty, something Blankenship says a credit monitoring company wouldn't have, and we can verify this was a scam.

It's something Blankenship says is all too common in the digital age.

"Bonnie and Clyde used to use a machine gun and ride around in a Model T, and now they sit behind a keyboard," said the consumer advocate.

So what did Streeter do?

After we messaged her back online, she said she took the notice and got it destroyed.

She did the right thing, but on a broader scale, how can you tell if the contact you might have gotten is real or a scam?

Blankenship says a legitimate contact from a company like Equifax or Capital One after a breach will always come in the mail and it's extremely rare they'll ask for money.

If they do, it's a good sign it's a scam.

You can track reported scams in your area through the Better Business Bureau's scam tracker.

If you have more questions, you can also contact their Macon office at 478-742-7999.

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