What You Need to Know About Common Identity Theft Scams
The digital age is incredibly convenient for the most part. However, it does have unique risks you need to prepare for. Identity theft is one of the most common risks and cyber criminals are always looking for ways to steal people’s information.
If you want to fight identity theft, then you need to know about the most common identity theft scans. This will allow you to prepare and make things harder for cyber criminals. Identity theft prevention is all about knowing what these criminals are after so you can do something about it. So, without further ado here are the most common identity theft scams to keep an eye on.
- Senior Identity Theft
Senior citizens are the most common targets for identity theft and that’s because they usually have larger saving accounts, retirement pensions, they receive different benefits and they tend to be ignorant of technology so they’re less likely for them to notice something’s wrong. They also don’t check their credit score that often, so it’s less likely cyber criminals will get caught.
Senior identity theft scams can happen in different ways. The most common one being through a conning scheme where criminals pretend to be someone else and prompt seniors to share sensitive personal information. This kind of scam costs over $36 billion every year and a senior is a victim of this every four minutes. To avoid this from happening to you, don’t divulge any sensitive personal information to anyone on the phone, online or via the mail unless you’ve made sure you’re talking to someone official.
- Mail Identity Theft
Mailboxes are one of the most vulnerable points for offline identity theft. Criminals who are after your identity will use the postal system in many different ways and because the mail has so much traffic, it’s easy for criminals to disappear. The most common type of mail identity theft involves re-routing someone’s packages or letters.
They do this by filling a Change of Address form in the Post Office. All they need is your address, which they can get from discarded mail, and then they’ll be able to fill out the form and have your mail and packages sent to a different direction. If you notice this is happening to you and you don’t do something straight away, you risk these criminals gaining more and more personal information by pretending to be you.
Another common mail identity theft scam involves stealing your mail, which can be hard to notice. To avoid both of these things from happening, make sure you destroy your mail properly before you toss it out and get your mail as soon as possible instead of leaving it out there overnight.
- Voice Phishing
Voice phishing, which is also known as vishing, is an identity theft scam where criminals will work hard to convince you to give them your personal information willingly. It’s similar to phishing, which involves criminals sending you emails or forms to request information under false pretenses. This is why it’s so difficult to detect because they will act as legitimate professionals from trusted companies.
Some vishing scams involve telling the victim their identity has already been stolen so you’re convinced to give up your information in order to catch the criminals. Some vishing scammers will contact you both on the phone and online, making it look like an urgent matter. To avoid this from happening, don’t trust customer service representatives blindly, don’t open unknown emails, and don’t use your credit card online unless you’ve determined you’re in a secure site.
Pharming is another common identity theft scam and it involves using computer code to redirect web traffic to fake sites. This is another type of phishing, but it’s a lot scarier because they don’t even need you to respond for the scam to work.
If your computer is hacked, cyber criminals can easily make changes to your system and send you to a site they can control. To avoid this from happening to you, use firewalls and antivirus software to make sure your computer is always secure. Taking these precautions is vital to avoid identity theft scams, so make sure you get the right software!