Wednesday, April 18, 2012
How to Spot the Most Common Identity Theft Scams
Verification is the key word for any relationship over the internet. The amount of defrauded people online worldwide is overwhelming. Millions of dollars are lost in scams each week. Sharing information in cyberspace opens the door to being the next target. For many internet users, experts say consumers are not aware of the risk when submitting their personal and payment information on website. On social networking sites, many feel it’s safe or okay to share anything, as if Facebook or Match.com were built to protect your privacy. Even banks have their information stolen from time to time, and social sites actually make their money off all the information you share. People now lose their jobs because of information they post online. Investigators say the less information about you on the internet, the better. It also lower your risk for identity theft.
International private investigators recommend background checks and due diligence on any company or individual overseas prior to proceeding in a personal or business relationship.
Consumers and businesses need to be skeptical when starting new relationships via the internet, and private information should not be shared until the individual is verified by an investigator. Identity theft can happen in a number of ways. From a chat partner sending you an email with an attachment, from a social networking site or dating site contact sending you a link or image to click on, from a friend or contact asking you about yourself until he has your full name, date of birth, address and copy of your ID, etc. It doesn’t take much for criminals to get what they need to steal your identity, and then drain your bank account – leaving victims is dire straits.
Below is a brief description of some of the more common forms of identity theft.
Phishing scams have been increasing in the past 12 months, usually in the form of an urgent message from your bank, credit card provider or utility company, informing you there is an issue with your account. Then they ask you to click on a link that redirects you to a copy-cat website of that institution where usually you fill in your password and user ID to access your account. Now you are in trouble. Another form of this same scam is someone calling you on the phone pretending to be an agent and telling you a problem with your credit card has been detected. These scams work because fraudsters contact people unexpectedly and people can’t think fast and say, wait a minute, this is something out of the ordinary and spot the red light. To avoid this whenever you receive an email from any financial institution you use, contact them directly, directly on their website or calling the helpline or customer service. Never share any information or click any link sent online.
Fake Job Offers are also everywhere over the net. Fraudsters take advantage of the very bad situation of the global economy, pull the strings of frustration and financial independence and have people paying to actually get hired, but they never see that happening. The Better Business Bureau explained that this is the number one scam on their list of customers’ claims, and also warned people to watch out for those ads offering to work from home. Some of these companies tell you you are hired and ask for your social security number, and with that, scammers have access to all of your information putting you in serious danger. Not to mention new credit cards in your name.
The only way to avoid this is by verifying those companies you are interested to work for. You can do your own by calling the companies or actually visit them and confirm they exist. Normally, private investigators are more effective to detect the red lights you could be missing.
Malware and Spyware are in your emails and also in Twitter and Facebook. They come as links with quite intriguing teasers that your curiosity finds really hard to ignore. You click the link which unleashes a program that sneaks into your computer and records your keystrokes, i.e. user names, passwords, account numbers, addresses, captures them and sends them back to the perpetrator, who has just stole your identity and will surely use it. Anti-virus and spyware protector software is a good start to avoid this threat. Not opening email from contacts you don’t know is another good way to avoid it and in your smart phone use applications from the official marketplace.
These are the most common phishing scams nowadays. Be skeptical online and never reveal your personal information unless you’re 100% sure you’re dealing with a reliable source. If you have any doubt, consider an international background check to lower your risk from fraud.
All the best,
© 2012 S. Birch