So $uper $avers, did I tell you that I was the victim of identify theft last year? When I got a call in my office (Chicago) that asked me if I was getting on a plane to Buenos Aires using my Amex card? Well, I will elaborate later, but no one is exepmt from this so take this to heart:
It may seem like everything is conducted on the Internet these days. From watching movies to shopping for new shoes, if you’ve got a computer with an internet connection, you can do it right from the comfort of your own home. The internet has provided many conveniences for us as a society, but just like all things that seem good on the surface, the internet has provided ways for criminals and other people with bad intentions to access private information about you and your family. If you’re worried about identity theft, the best thing you can do is to get educated about how you can prevent it, and how to deal with it if it happens anyway.
The biggest way that people are affected by identity theft is through phishing scams. No, that’s not a typographical error. Phishing is the process of scamming unsuspecting internet surfers and consumers into offering up their sensitive financial or identification information without even knowing that there is anything wrong. By now we’ve all heard about those scam emails that say that they come from the King of Nigeria and that he wants to give you millions of dollars as long as you send him your address and social security number.
Many people know not to respond to these types of emails, or even to open them at all. But what about if you’re reading through your email and you see a message from your bank? The email might even address you by your first name and refer to a problem with your account that needs to be taken care of. All you have to do, according to the email, is to verify your account information so that they can proceed to credit your account. You click on the link, a pop up window opens and you enter your name and account number.
You think that you’ve just taken care of a private matter with your bank, but what you could not see was that the popup was designed to deliver your private information to scam artists who was looking to commit identity theft. Now they have your account number and you have no money left. You have to realize that by law, no bank or credit card company can ever ask you for your account information through email. Any time you see such a request, you will know it is a phishing scam.