Identity Theft Watch Out For This Type Of Fraud Or Theft Of Your Identity.
In times of recession we all start getting those emails that want to purloin our secret codes and passwords. You know the ones that have subject lines like: “Your Account Is About To Be Closed,” “There’s A Block On Your Account,” “Could You Help Me Claim My Funds,” or my all-time favorite “Congratulations – You’ve Won The UK Lottery.” but the most serious of all of course is actual Identity Theft. Whilst you may think it’s OK to reply to these emails then of course most are simply phasing scams from bottom dwellers who are simply out to get your details and eventually get at your money!
Identity theft has probably touched you or someone you know with this type of fraud.
When people are suffering from falling incomes and spiraling living costs, and at celebration times when we are all shopping for gifts for family or customers, the last thing we need is for our bank or credit cards account to be hindered. That is exactly what these “cyber grifters” are counting on, and unfortunately some of us are tempted to follow the instructions sent to investigate.
First and foremost, DON’T FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE EMAIL! If you think there might be a problem, access the account in question as you normally do on your PC and not with the link supplied in the phony email, this is the clearest sign of someone trying to access your identity, yes it’s a phishing scam with the prime goal of identity theft!
Identity Theft Methods – Watch Out For E-mails From People That You Do Not Know
I’ve had some very authentic looking email supposedly from banks, that even went so far as to copy the colors of the bank logo and stationery style. But, don’t fall for the scam. In fact, don’t even open the email, because many are just set to loose a virus program on your computer by being opened. Simply forward the suspicious email to the “spoof email” address supplied by your bank, or credit card company. Watch out for any attachments, if the e-mail has an attachment never open it as it is probably a virus that will extract all of your e-mail addresses and all of your contacts too, exposing your friends and colleagues also to identity theft .
Nearly 10 million Americans fell prey to identity theft last year, costing businesses and individuals billions of dollars. Here are some other tips to help you:
- Understand debit card dangers: Greater liability than credit cards. When it comes to fraud, debit cards carry much greater personal liability than credit cards, depending on how quickly you report the loss of the card. If you fail to report unauthorized use within 60 days of receiving your bank statements, you could lose all the money in the account and be held responsible for the amount of money that has been tapped from your line of credit.
- Rethink check writing: That little slip of paper has way too much information. Some experts advise against check writing because it gives away your address, bank account number, signature and license number to complete strangers. On top of that, there’s no federal legislation to limit your liability for forged checks (each state has its own set of rules). Experts advise that you look into automating your bill paying.
- Secure your mail: Your mailbox is a goldmine of information. Between bank statement, bills, and all those pre-approved credit card offers, your mailbox is loaded with personal data which identity thieves can use to easily apply for a credit card in your name. Unless you diligently check your credit report, you may never even know about it. One way to avoid this is to have your mailbox under lock and key, but most of us have our mailboxes at the curb in front of our house and the postman frowns on carrying dozens and dozens of keys around. The other solution is to have a rented mailbox, and of course another way to foil “dumpster-diving” thieves is by buying a shredder and destroying all of your documents before discarding.
- Go virtual: For shopping online, there are “virtual” card numbers. These are randomly generated credit card numbers that are disposable and that on-line shoppers use once and throw away. It’s linked directly to your real credit card account so purchases show up on your monthly bill. The service is easy to use – and it’s FREE! All you need to do is register with companies offering the virtual card, and they are MBNA, Discover, and Citigroup.
- Create an emergency identity kit: Would you know how to contact your credit card company in an emergency? Create an emergency kit that contains: your account number, expiration date, issuing company name, and emergency contact number for each card you own. While you’re at it, make copies of your driver’s license, social security card, birth certificate and passport and store them in a locked box or file cabinet, or a safe deposit box. I like the safe deposit box best, because this gives you protection in the event of a catastrophe such as fire, earthquake, etc.
- Finally it is of utmost importance that you report any such identity theft attempts, all of the major Email providers have a tool to report physing Emails, the banks will need to know from you as soon as any such attempt is made as far as your personal of business finances are concerned, so please ensure that you report every such attempt, this is the only way to weed these bottom dwellers, who usually reside overseas out.
Be careful with your personal information to prevent Identity theft
This may all seem like a lot of unnecessary work, but if you’re ever the victim of identity theft – even just once – you’ll realize that it’s well worth the effort.
Many of us forget that were it not for what we carry in our wallets or in our purses, we’re all John and Jane Doe’s if we can’t speak due to injury or are unaccompanied by someone who knows us. How much less stressful is it to know that in a bank box, no matter where you are, there are items that can verify your identity. Better to be safe, than sorry!
Always be alert on the internet, never download files unless you know that they are safe watch out for identity theft.