Identity Theft

Top 10 Identity Theft Scams

  1. Phishing

This popular scam involves getting information about people by sending spam e-mails. Links in those e-mails will take you to pages where the thieves will ask you to enter your bank account login and password or other sensitive information, sometimes under the threat of investigation or suspension of services. It’s good to follow the general rule of never giving personal information over e-mail and to contact your bank directly.

  1. Bank examiner scams

This is more of an old-school tactic, in which someone approaches you and tells you that they are investigating the bank and need you to withdraw money in order to give them proof of corruption at the financial institution. However, you should always remember that these types of investigations never require public cooperation, and you should contact police if someone tries to convince you they’re doing it.

  1. Doctored ATMs

Some thieves covertly install their own equipment on ATMs. The equipment allows them to intercept ATM card and PIN information. Sometimes this involves the use of cameras hidden in a deposit envelope holder. Be careful if the ATM has out-of-the-ordinary cracks around the card slot or if the ATM asks for your PIN several times.

  1. Phone fraud

Some fraudsters will call to inform you that they are investigating questionable charges on your credit card. Once they give you a charge you don’t remember, they’ll ask for your credit card information to supposedly continue the process. However, credit card companies shouldn’t ask you for this information, so the best strategy is to hang up and call your credit card company directly to make sure it was a legitimate concern.

  1. Call forwarding scam

A variation of the classic phone fraud scam occurs when a scammer poses as a telephone company employee who gets your credit card information and informs you to leave the phone off the hook in order to verify and fix a supposed issue with your telephone service. This allows the thief to forward verification calls concerning wire transfers without you knowing about it. Of course, not giving out credit card information over the phone prevents any of this from happening as well.

  1. Card verification scam

This strategy involves a person calling or e-mailing to ask for credit card information necessary to verify information lost in a recent hack or server failure, with the threat of a cancellation of your account. Once again, refusal to give the information is the best policy.

  1. Lottery scam

This is one of the more common tricks out there because of how effective it’s actually been over the years due to its appeal to the human greed. Usually, it’s an email from an overseas lottery that you didn’t enter informing you of a substantial amount of money available as long as you provide bank account information so they can wire transfer your winnings.

  1. Fake charities

While there are some real charities who solicit donations over the phone, it’s best to avoid the potential for identity theft by donating directly to the charity in person or online through legitimate websites.

  1. Fake invoices

A common mail scam involves sending invoices for products you never ordered. Make sure that there is an alternative contact method, usually a phone number. Of course, if you are certain you never ordered the product, you’ll be safe just ignoring it.

  1. Fake brokerage companies

Some scammers may opt for sending spam e-mails advertising hot tips and good stock options, and get you to provide personal information to sign up for their services. However, you are much better off going to a legitimate brokerage firm in person than using an unsolicited e-mail to get you into the stock market.