5 Common Identity Theft Scams to Avoid
Today, we will discuss 5 common identity theft scams you should avoid! Identity theft occurs when an individual or group takes your personal information without your consent. Identity thieves use a variety of scams to steal your information.
The sad truth is that many individuals have been affected by identity theft. In fact, 1 out of every 15 people experiences identity theft at least once in their lifetime! They say the truth shall set you free, I say the truth can stress you out. Won’t you agree that this number is a little stressful?
Identity thieves are notorious for creating scams and harming you and your family by stealing your personal and sensitive information. Unfortunately. Juvenile and senior identity theft are very common according to the 2018 Child Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research, more than 1 million children in the U.S. were IDT victims last year, resulting in losses of $2.67 billion.
As proud Americans, we believe in protecting our country and our families Identity! Let’s jump into the 5 common identity theft scams you should be on the lookout for.
- A phishing scam is defined as a fraudulent attempt to steal sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in any form of electronic communication.
- A great example of phishing scams is fraudulent emails. There are several known phishing scams using “fake” email addresses, such as xxxuniversity.edu, that mass-distribute scam emails to as many company employees as possible.
- I, personally, have received fraudulent emails from fake email addresses. In the example below, the email claims that the user’s password is about to expire. Instructions are given to go to myuniversity.edu/renewal to renew their password within 24 hours.
Be aware of phishing scams. Try and take caution when receiving emails, do not click on any links that seem suspicious.
Debit Identity Theft Scams
- Debit scams occur in many different ways. Perhaps the most common type of debt scams occurs with telemarketers.
- What makes matters worse is there are no GDPR laws in America to protect consumers. Meaning anyone can easily access your information, such as your phone number without your consent.
- For example, a number of calls that you have never seen as “private” could be trying to steal your money from your checking account. How? Simply by tricking you, or as we call it “scamming you,” into believing he or she is calling from the card company. Once the scammer has the information you’ve handed over to them over the phone, the scammer now has full access to your account. If a telemarketer or 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 is absolutely trustworthy and is from an accredited company.
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Mail and Email Identity Theft Scams
- Keep an eye on your mail! Especially if you’re leaving or going on vacation or for a long period of time. Anyone can steal your mail and gain access to important information. A great way to avoid this is by getting a secured mailbox with a key, that only you have a copy of. Or, even consider getting a P.O. Box where you can keep your mail secured from scammers.
- Another thing to take into consideration in this category is “fake mail.” Scammers use look alike mail to trick individuals into believing that the mail they are receiving is real. However, when the individual opens the mail, there is normally some sort of demand and a call to action asking you to call a number or to email them specific information. Be very careful of shady demands.
- These scams are known to intimidate or scare you into paying or providing your sensitive information. Never make payments via mail without first verifying the sender. As Americans, we have the freedom to speak our truths – don’t be afraid to ask why your sensitive information is needed.
One of the most important things to do if you think you receive scam mail is to report the issue. Report scams and fraud by contacting the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or reporting the incident online.
Child Identity Theft Scams
- In 2018, it was reported that more than 1 million children were victims of identity theft. According to NBC , “Data breaches are more of a risk for minors than they are for adults.”Pasquel says that last year, 11 percent of all U.S. households had at least one child affected by identity theft.
- Children are more likely to become targets and become victims. Scammers who target children are likely to steal Social Security Numbers, which are considered more valuable for criminals.
- Pascual tells NBC News that “Criminals can have a field day with a child’s identity information because it’s never been used before. When a bank or other company pulls a credit report, they’re not going to find anything, and so the criminal has a clean pallet to work on.”
This is the sad truth – even our children are becoming targets to identity thieves. Don’t fall victim!
- Keep your important documents secured, request your child credit records and keep track of their reports and your mail. What more information on how to protect your children from IDT? Read our previous blog all about the warning signs of children IDT.
Senior Citizen Identity Theft Scams
- Senior citizens are a target for many scammers, simply because seniors tend to be more vulnerable when receiving mail, emails and or telephone calls. Unfortunately, the personal information of senior citizens is extremely valuable to cybercriminals because seniors are typically not opening as many new accounts or applying for new credit, meaning it is less likely that the scammer will be caught.
The FTC reported that 37% of Americans who are 60 years or older made fraud complaints in 2016; 20% of those complaints were for ID theft. Seniors can easily fall victim to scammers if they trust the wrong person.
- There are many reports where scammers develop a relationship over time with their target by preying on them over the phone or even by mail or email.
This is your life, your Identity. Don’t fall victim to Identity Theft Scam tactics.
Let American Identity Group protect your freedom and give you your voice back! Identity theft is a sad scary truth we face, but by knowing what scams to avoid, you can protect your information and take the proper steps needed in protecting you and your family.