Criminals want to earn their money the easy way, by stealing yours.
With the increase of sophisticated schemes, scams and frauds, it's important that you stay informed about the different types of fraud being used to steal your personal information.
The best defense to identity theft is requesting your free annual credit report. It details all of your credit transaction accounts, and will be the first place that unusual charges or entirely new accounts will appear.
Criminals try to attempt to acquire sensitive financial information about you such as passwords, user names, account information and credit cards by masquerading as a bank employee or other trusted entity. The most common way they carry this out is by email, directing you to enter sensitive information into a fake website.
Protect yourself: Remember we will never send you an email requesting personal information. We already have your information.
Same as phishing only the criminals use the telephone to get sensitive information from you. This technique is mainly used to steal credit card numbers, bank account numbers and passwords. You might receive a phone call advising you an account has been compromised and you should call a number they provide to verify your account information.
Protect Yourself: Be suspicious of any phone call asking you to provide them with any account information including account numbers or passwords. You should contact the bank or your credit card company directly to verify the validity of the call.
This is the use of a text message to your phone to lure you to respond to an alert by going to a website or advising you to call a certain number to verify information.
Protect Yourself: Once again, be suspicious of any type of correspondence that requires you to surrender any personal sensitive account information or passwords.
Debit & Credit Card Skimming
With this scheme, criminals tamper with machines that read your credit or debit cards. Fraudsters set up a device that is capable of capturing the magnetic stripe and keypad information and then sell this information to criminals who use it to create new cards with your account numbers.
Protect yourself: Use ATM machines from institutions you know and trust. If you are using an unfamiliar ATM machine, look around and see if it has surveillance cameras, is in area that is well lit and seems a lot of traffic. Be sure to look the card reader over, checking the slot where you insert your card for anything that may look suspicious or like an addition part glued on. If in doubt, search for a different machine.
Shield the pin pad every time you enter your pin number at an ATM or POS terminal. Hidden cameras are often used in conjunction with skimming devices to capture both primary account numbers and PINs.
Fake Check Scams
Scammers create realistic cashier's checks or money orders payable to you for online purchases or most notoriously, some form of foreign lottery that you have won! The scam always involves a check for more than you have purchased or won and asks you to send the difference in a separate check to the scammer. You get a worthless fake check, and the scammer gets your real check and your money.
Protect Yourself: Using good common sense. You can not win a lottery you did not enter. And of course, never accept a check that request that you mail them the difference.