Did you know that identity theft scams cost the average person over $900 in personal financial losses? With the number of scams being reported by victims on the rise, it is extremely important to watch out for possible scams so that you do not become a victim in the first place. More than 25 percent of all of the identity theft scams that are reported today are conducted on the Internet. The scam artist’s goal is to obtain your secure personal information and profit. Here are some of the top ID theft scams you should know about and how you can stay protected against them:
#1: Bank or Creditor Phishing Scams
Phishing scams involve emailing victims and posing as the recipient’s bank or creditor in an effort to obtain personal information on the victims bank account or credit card. The emails sent by the scam artist will typically come from an email address from the creditor’s or bank’s “security department.” The email will also contain the company’s logo image so that it looks official. You will be asked to visit a link within the website to verify your account number and password. This website is cloned to look like a legitimate website, but if you look at the URL is will not be the company’s official URL.
To avoid falling victim to this very common ID theft phishing scam, remember that a legitimate company will not ask for your account information through email. If you are directed to a website, be sure to call the company at the number you have on file before you provide any information. Let the company know you have received a suspicious looking email and they can verify whether or not your account information does need to be verified.
#2: Telephone Phishing Scams
Telephone phishing scams are also becoming a convenient and popular option for scam artists to secure your personal information. By using a fake called ID number, which can be set up online, the scammer will call advertisers trying to sell their personal belongings in newspaper classifieds and advise them that they are the publisher. They will then tell the advertiser that there has been a problem with the payment received, and will attempt to obtain the victim’s credit card information to resolve the issue.
If you receive this type of phone call, keep in mind that anyone can get your phone number from your classified ad. Rather than giving up your personal information, call the newspaper directly and ask if your payment has been processed.
#3: Job Application Scams
Job scams are also becoming popular in an economy where unemployment rates are high. When you are applying for a job online, you could be falling victim to a job application phishing scam. The application will ask for your Social Security number and personal information. Rather than using this for a background check, the scam artist will use this information to steal your identity. To prevent this from happening, check an employer out online and with the Chamber of Commerce before you submit an application.
All too often, average people fall victim to ID theft. In just minutes, a scam artist can cause years of headaches for you. Scams are getting more high-tech and more sophisticated. Protect yourself, learn more about the top ID theft scams, and look for red flags.