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SPOTTING FRAUDSTERS, SCAMMERS, AND IDENTITY THEVES ONLINE

Online identity thief
  • It’s happening on social media when a fraudster pretends to be someone you know.
  • It’s happening on websites when a hacker redirects you to an unsafe link.
  • It’s even happening via email when someone poses as a company you do business with and asks for your account information.
  • Secure your SSN and PII. Keep your Social Security Number (SSN) and other Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in a safe spot. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet; be careful where you write your personal information down.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited requests. Never share your personal information by phone, mail, email, or on websites without being certain the request is valid and from a verified source. This includes providing your name, birth date, SSN, and bank account numbers.
  • Safeguard against “oversharing” on social. Would-be criminals can use social media to learn about you, your interests, and your habits. That information could help them figure out your passwords and answers to security questions for your online accounts.
  • Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Whenever you’re entering your PIN or a password, shield the keypad or keyboard to prevent others from eyeing your credentials.
  • Check your security and settings. Many of the mobile apps and websites that you use keep a record of your personal information. Keep data safe on your devices by checking your app permissions and reviewing your security and privacy settings.
  • Install antivirus software. Ensure you keep the antivirus software on your computers up-to-date and pay attention to any legitimate warnings or alerts you receive.
  • Create an FTC Identity Theft Report
  • Place a one-year fraud alert on your credit report
  • Place a seven-year extended fraud alert on your credit report
  • Get free copies of your credit report
  • Get fraudulent information removed (or “blocked”) from your credit report
  • Dispute fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit report
  • Stop creditors and debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts
  • Get copies of documents related to the identity theft
  • Stop a debt collector from contacting you
  • Phishing. Phishing occurs when someone takes on the identity of someone you trust and asks you to share personal information or click a malicious link.
  • Fake websites and “form-jacking.” Fake websites try to trick you into making purchases. Form-jacking is a new cyberthreat that steals your credit card information when you’re making a purchase online and you’re unknowingly redirected to a malicious URL.
  • Fake antivirus software. Fake antivirus pop-ups ask you to download software that will infect your computer with a virus, malware, ransomware, or other cyber threats.
  • Get rich quick scams. Claims that you can make big bucks fast are tactics to get you to hand over personal and financial information or make an ill-advised investment.
  • Tech support scams. Tech support impersonators contact you with false tech issues and prompt you to download an app that allows them to control your device remotely.
  • Take your time reviewing an email or message that may be phishing. Look for inaccurate information, inconsistencies, or links that look like they don’t lead where they should.
  • Watch for scam websites that may have similar (but not identical) URLs to the brand they claim to be, spelling errors, or other inaccuracies.
  • Be on alert for form-jacking by double-checking the URL when you enter a page where you’re going to input your credit card information.
  • Be cautious when you’re presented with antivirus pop-ups or requests to take immediate action. Never install software from these pop-ups.
  • Avoid get-rich-quick scams with common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Know that if a tech issue occurs, companies are unlikely to call you. When you encounter an issue, you should call them using the customer support phone number on their website

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