Identity Theft (noun) The fraudulent acquisition and use of a persons private identifying information, usually for financial gain.
Scam (noun) A term used to describe any fraudulent business or scheme that takes money or other goods from an unsuspecting person.
Identity theft is not a good thing to have happen to you. It can cause all sorts of troubles like monetary problems, heartaches, stress, and financial difficulties. It’s always important to stay ahead and be aware of scams that may be trending. Nowadays with so much technology, there are a bunch of scams out there and the sad thing is that even though some of these scams may be old but some people still fall for them.
Did you know that you can be a victim of Identity theft in more ways than one? There is Identity theft when someone without your permission or knowledge utilizes your social security number and other personal information to open new accounts and make purchases. This is why it’s always important to make it a habit and verify your credit report three times a year (every 4 months). When your identity has been compromised or kidnapped by a thief it is sad to say but the chances are they are going to drain your bank account, make purchases on your credit cards and even open un new charge accounts.
Not only should you protect your personal information but also be aware that thieves can also commit identity theft and scams via email. Upon doing my research for my blog I found that according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center 73% of fraud contact occurs through email.
A perfect example of this is when out of the blue you receive an email stating you have inherited a large sum of money from a long distant relative in which you are the only traceable family member so the money is all yours. Then they proceed to ask you some personal information about yourself in order to be able to pull off the scam.
They usually ask for the full name, date of birth, residential address, and phone number. Some go even further and ask for your banking information because the transaction will be performed via a bank transfer. If you still believe you have a long lost relative in Nigeria or Zimbabwe let me tell you don’t get too excited just yet eventually they will send you an email to let you know everything is in order BUT to receive the inheritance money you need to pay the bank transfer fee. This right here should be a RED FLAG.
Another scam out there is getting a call or voicemail from an agent that supposedly works for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This supposed agent calls and openly and upfront states that you owe the IRS back taxes and if you do not pay up you will be arrested in about 30 minutes. The funny thing is they take Itune and or gift cards as a payment form. REALLY? This should be a RED FLAG. I advise you be more careful and DO NOT give out your personal information of any kind to anyone under any circumstance.
Here are some tips to avoid identity theft and online scams:
- Do not store or keep your social security card in your wallet or purse.
- When withdrawing money at an ATM watch out for over the shoulder lookers.
- Do not send money to strangers. (Walmart to Walmart, Moneygram, Western Union).
- Detect online imposters trying to offer too good to be true deals or investments.
- Shred important and sensitive documents.
- Men carry your wallet in upfront pockets.
- Be careful with free trials.
- Do not deposit in your bank account mystery checks that come in the mail.
- Be careful when clicking links on the Internet.
It’s easy to be a victim of Identity theft and online scams these days with so much technology but be aware If it sounds too good to be true it probably is just a smoke screen and the reality will hit you eventually. Take adequate precautions and do your research before making any decisions about buying something or investing your money. Its always good to double check and corroborate the information given to you as facts. Never rush into quick decisions or let anyone hurry you to act fast. Some of these scammers are sweet talkers and know what to say to get you excited and hyped. It’s better to make sure and research then have regrets because your judgment was cloudy.
If you need any help with your finances or credit remember the Warrior Chick Credit Repair Specialist is here to guide you through the credit journey by Preparing your future for the next level.