Identity theft scams are very common in the United States and the numbers keep on increasing. It is very important to protect your identity as there are various ways by which scammers can acquire your information. Every scam is not identity theft, but it can lead to a theft depending on the information lost.
One of the recent scams is the “Facebook-at-home” that involved offering people to join “home-based support team” of Facebook. They were asked to pay $4 to register but, there was an agreement asking to pay $94 monthly through credit card.
The various identity theft scams and the respective precautionary measures that you should be aware of are listed as follows:
1. Mailbox raiding
You receive a mail in your mailbox. Before you could see it, a thief steals it. This is called mailbox raiding.
Always keep your mailbox locked to avoid this theft.
2. Dumpster diving
There are various important documents with which you have to deal in your daily life. While disposing them, if you are not careful enough, you might be a victim of identity theft.
Make sure to shred all the documents before disposing of.
3. Caller ID spoofing
In this scam, the scammers call you pretending to be some bank, lottery, government employee, etc. and ask for your personal information. They spoof the caller ID to make you believe that it is a real thing.
Never give your personal details to someone on a phone call. Remember, banks and other institutions never ask for personal details through a phone call.
In this process, the scammers send you fake emails which seem to be from some legitimate company. They even use the logos and other graphics to seem real. They send emails asking to update your information to secure your account.
To protect yourself from phishing scams, never reply to these emails. Simply, delete them.
Smishing is another form of “phishing”. While phishing involves sending fake emails to acquire personal information, smishing involves sending text messages. The text message usually contains a link which when clicked, downloads a malware to your phone.
Never respond to any unknown messages and never click any links given in them.
6. ATM skimming
ATM skimming involves the use of external skimming devices to acquire your debit card number and PIN.
The next time you use an ATM, see if there are any external skimming devices. Also, cover the keypad while typing your PIN.
7. Credit card skimming
Similar to ATM skimming is another scam called credit card skimming. In this, the details of credit card are acquired while swiping it at any store, restaurant, etc.
Be careful while swiping your credit card and monitor your credit card statements regularly.
It is derived from “document tracing”. It is a type of social engineering. In this, the identity thieves acquire your information from various social networking websites and then use it to acquire more of your data.
Incorporate appropriate privacy settings in your social media account to ensure optimal security.
9. Foreign lottery scam
As the name suggests, it involves scamming people by sending them emails or letters saying that they have won a foreign lottery. The email/ letter appears quite convincing. They ask you to enter your bank account information to transfer the lottery amount.
Beware of these scams. You obviously are smart enough not to fall for these scams. It is not possible to win a lottery in which you never participated!
10. Fake jury duty
In this scam, the identity thief calls you impersonating to be a court official. He informs you that you have not reported to a jury duty which you were supposed to attend and a warrant has been filed against you due to this. Then he asks you to provide your personal information for further procedures.
In case you face such a situation, instead of responding to the person who called, call the court yourself to know the exact matter.
11. Employment Scam
As the name says, employment scam is a way to scam people looking for jobs. The scammers post ads of a fake job to attract job seekers. They ask to provide your personal and sometimes even financial information to apply for the job.
Never fall for such scams. A genuine employer will never ask you to provide such information.
12. Nigerian 419 scam
It is a very popular scam since the 1920s. In this scam, a letter or email is sent by the criminal impersonating as a government official living in Nigeria. The criminal asks for your assistance to transfer a large amount of money out of the country and for this, he asks you to provide your account information. He promises to provide you a share of it in return.
Never reply to such emails. You are witty enough to know why!
13. Your Computer Has Been Infected!
In this scam, the criminals redirect you to a webpage (or send a pop-up) informing you that your computer has been infected by some malware. They ask you to visit a link in which they ask for your credit card information.
Don’t care to respond to such links. In case of confusion, contact your system administrator.
Paying attention to these types of scams might save you from falling into a critical situation where you can be saved from theft. These above listed measures can help to protect you from identity theft and in knowing the exact idea behind such scams.