ID Thieves are smart, But You Can Be Smarter!!
To continue our discussion on ID theft…
We saw how social engineering can get you to give your personally identifiable information over the phone, but there are other avenues the ID thief will take to get your information.
A while back I discussed the evils of dumpster diving (http://wp.me/p1SSJc-A) and how a thief can get your information through going through your trash. The reason I wrote that piece is because it is still a present risk. Now, since you have read yesterday’s post, you won’t fall for the phone scam, but what about the lovely email scam? This scam is very similar to the social engineering scam I wrote about yesterday, except with a twist. This scam, called phishing, is where the thief sends you an email, one that looks very official, from a bank that you may or may not have an account with. The set up is very similar as the phone scam, in which the email will tell you about a problem with your account, and that the financial institution feels that your information has been compromised, and that you need to verify your account. It threatens that the account has been frozen, and the only way to unfreeze your assets is to click on the link, sign in, and verify who you are. Through sophisticated tools, the thief makes an exact copy of the financial institutions website, and has you login. What this “dummy site” does is ask you to verify your online username and password, then takes you to another screen, which will have you fill out your social security number, date of birth, and address, so they can “verify” that you are who you say you are, then afterwards tells you that your account has been unfrozen, and everything is ok. Do you see what you just did? You just gave the thief your online credentials and your personally identifiable information. They can now go in at a later date and transfer all of your money to their account.
Another popular method of stealing your identity is to simply steal your wallet or purse. This is a quick hit for a thief, as they have only a few minutes to steal as much money off your credit card as possible, before you contact your banks.
The final way a thief steals your information, and typically the hardest for them, is to pretend to be you when they call your banks. This method is called pretext calling, and the way it works is a thief will sift through your mail (at your mailbox) and find out who you bank with. They gather as much information about you as possible, and then make the call. This method is the hardest for the thief because financial institutions have trained their employees on ways to weed out these calls. That is why you must give out a lot of information to your bank when you call them for services. See, the hassles you must go through is the same hassle a thief must go through.
Now that you know the most common methods for thieves to steal your information, tomorrow we will discuss how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
Protect your information, protect yourself. Coffee is brewing people; it is time to wake up!!
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