Unfortunately, millions of Americans become victims of identity theft each year. Identity theft occurs when someone accesses and uses your personal information without permission. Identity thieves use a variety of scams to get your information. Here are some common identity theft scams you should be on the lookout to avoid.
- Automatic Debit Scams: Fraudulent telemarketers can try to steal your money from your checking account by getting your information over the phone. If a caller asks for your banking information, take caution. Don’t give out your information over the phone unless you know who you’re speaking with.
- Phishing Scams: Identity thieves send emails pretending to be from your bank, credit card company, or other institution. They ask that you click on a link or call the listed number to verify your information. These scams can be hard to detect – that’s why it’s important to contact your bank/credit card company directly to confirm.
- Fake Credit Report Sites: Have you ever gotten an unsolicited email offering credit reports? Some of these online operators may not actually provide credit reports, but may be using these sites as a way to capture your personal information. From there, they may sell your information to others who use it to commit fraud.
- Targeting the Elderly: Sometimes, scammers call the elderly pretending to be a loved one in trouble and asking for money. They also prey on the elderly by convincing them that they are from a government agency to gain access to their information.
- Pretexting: Pretexting is the practice of getting your personal information under false pretenses. Pretexters may call under the guise of being from a survey firm and gradually collect your personal information.
- Secured Credit Card Marketing Scams: While secured credit cards can be an effective way to build credit, some marketers make deceptive advertising claims to entice you to respond to their ads. These ads can cost you a lot of money, so be careful and read the fine print!
Identity theft is scary, but by knowing what scams to avoid, you can better safeguard your personal information.