If you’re thinking about purchasing goods or services online, you need to first be aware of the risk of credit card fraud and identity theft. Since e-commerce has been introduced, identity thieves and scammers has been finding new and better ways to steal information from people. One of these strategies is called phishing.
Avoiding Phishing Scams
“Phishing” scam is one of the most effective strategies that ID thieves use to commit crimes. In fact, “phishing” scams has been prevalent since the 1990s. Are you aware of how phishing is done?
Phishing is done with the use of email. People often use the internet to check electronic messages and ID thieves use this tactic to take advantage of them. The recipient may not know that the email was actually from an ID thief.
The email is made to look just like the original website from a reputable company. For instance, the email may seem to have came from PayPal, Amazon or the IRS and unsuspecting people may reply to this message, sending their personal details.
The email could also contain links or URLs that lead to a “phishing” site. The webpage may look very similar to the original website and it you’re not aware of the signs, you may not be able distinguish that you’re actually on a fake webpage. As a result, you may fill in the online form with your personal details, not knowing that you are actually handing precious information to criminals.
How They Ruin Your Credit
Once you have entered your information into one of these fraudulent sites. The scammers get to work! They drain bank accounts, run up credit cards, open new accounts all at the speed of light. Some of them even sell this information to other scam artist. Within hours of your putting your information into one of these websites you now are $1000s of dollars in debt and about to start a credit repair nightmare!
For every account these people open up under your name, you will need to PROVE that it wasn’t you.
What You Should Do
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to all consumers against credit card fraud and identity theft. Always remember that legitimate and reputable merchants, banks or government agencies would never solicit personal information or verify information by sending an email.
If you received a suspicious e-mail in your inbox, don’t open it. The best thing to do is call the company and confirm if they did send an email or not. Never send a response to such emails. TO be sure, delete those messages from your Inbox.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud or ID theft, file a complaint to the FTC right away and report the incident to your State General’s office. Taking immediate action will safeguard you from other possible crimes that can be committed against you.