Latest Trends in Identity Theft
Identity thieves are always developing new ways to obtain sensitive personal information over the Internet. While you may have heard of phishing (fraudulent e-mails disguised as if they were from trusted sources to obtain personal information) and pharming (redirecting Web traffic to fraudulent sites to obtain information), you should also be conscious of IP spoofing.
IP spoofing, or Internet Protocol spoofing, is a technique used to gain unauthorized access to computers by tricking the computer itself into thinking the hacker’s IP is a “safe” one. Once this is accomplished, the hacker could have full access to your computer — without you even knowing. The best way to avoid this sort of fraud is by making sure your computer’s security programs are up-to-date and by utilizing the most secure filter, router, or firewall offered.
New Twists on Old Techniques
Identity thieves have relied on credit card scams for quite a while, but current economic challenges have allowed them to use new, more successful angles to get the information they need. Due to tightened credit, criminals are advertising fraudulent credit offers to victims who may be strapped for cash but are not qualified to apply for credit (poor credit score, lacking a SSN).
They can also obtain sensitive personal information by posing as debt consolidation experts or by offering to obtain lower interest rates for the victims. Make sure that all credit interactions you have are with reputable sources.
You can always turn to the Better Business Bureau if you are unsure.
Staying Safe Socially
With the rapidly growing popularity of social media sites, more people are sharing an increasing amount of personal information over the Internet. Even if you do not consider some of the information you display on social sites “sensitive personal information,” you should still use strict privacy settings.
Numerous studies have shown that with the right technology, determined identity thieves may be able to eventually piece together seemingly insignificant facts about you along with publicly available information to steal your identity. The best way to prevent this is to share as little information publically as possible and ask that your friends be subtle in the information they share about you; your best efforts to safeguard your identity can be negated by a careless friend’s wall posts.
The Jury Duty Scam
Identity thieves often prey on people’s fear and , in some cases, their civic obligations. The “Jury Duty” scam, for example, is remarkably easy to fall for. Imagine this scenario: you receive a call from a jury coordinator informing you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest due to your failure to appear for jury duty. When you explain that you never even received a summons for jury duty, the coordinator asks for your Social Security Number and date of birth in order to verify your information and cancel the warrant. Of course you are willing to provide this information; there has obviously been a mistake and you want to avoid arrest at all costs. The problem is, this is all part of the scam. There never was a warrant, and you have just had your identity stolen.
This scam has been reported in a number of states. So if you receive a phone call that seems suspicious or threatening, do not panic. Simply ask for more information, the caller’s supervisor, or a number at which you can reach them after doing more research. Nothing foils an identity thief like an educated response.
1Equifax Credit Report Control is only available while you have a current subscription to an ID Patrol, Equifax Complete Advantage or Equifax Complete Premier product. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agenc , and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. o opt out of such pre-approved offers, call 1-888-567-868
2WebDetect can scan suspected internet trading sites for your Social Security number (if you choose to) or up to 10 major credit/debit card numbers you provide. Because the addresses of the suspected internet trading sites searched by WebDetect are not published and frequently change, there is no guarantee that WebDetect is able to locate every possible internet site where consumers’ personal information is at risk of being traded. Your Social Security number or the credit card numbers you have chosen to scan for with WebDetect may be at risk of being traded on the internet even if you do not receive a WebDetect alert.
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