Guide 2 Identity Theft - How To Protect Yourself
Guide 2 Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft
How It Happens
Types of Identity Theft
Commercial Identity Theft
Watch Out For
Credit Card Risks
Debit & ATM Cards
Spoofs & Phishing
Unsolicited Card Offers
Credit Reporting Agencies
If Your Identity Is Stolen
Guide 2 Identity Theft > Spoofs & Phishing
Spoofing For Your Identity Details
Identity thieves sometimes used spoofs and trickery to obtain personal information. Identity thieves using these spoofing methods pretend to be an official authority, bank or company in order to build up your trust, and may go to considerable lengths to reproduce company logos, correspondence and web sites so that they appear to be the real official organization.
It is particularly common for thieves to take advantage of telephone, mail surveys or emails, as this minimizes their risk of being caught by the authorities, and because it allows them to catch people off-guard. However, you should be aware that these methods of communication are not secure, and are not generally used by governments, banks or companies to obtain personal identity information. Any approach by these means ought to raise a "Scam!" warning in your mind.
One such scam that has become common in the internet age are so-called "phishing" scams. These campaigns use official-looking emails to request your confidential information. A particularly common tactic is to use such emails to send people to a fake web site (that looks exactly like the official web site) and get people to "log-in" (thus capturing their account user ID and password).
For trusting people encountering them for the first time, these phishing emails can be difficult to deal with, because they usually imply threats of account closure or similar consequences if no action is taken. They have become a routine part of using email for most of us "old hands", and it is easy to overlook how credible they may appear to people who are new to using emails and who have had few exposures to identity thieves in the "offline" world.
Some simple methods of reducing your risk of being taken by such phishing scams are:-
Another way that you can also lose your credit card details is by unintentionally giving away your personal details to an identity thief. Make sure you have confidence in vendors you deal with over the telephone or internet. Ensure the transaction is through a reputable company, and in the case of internet transactions, make sure it uses a secure transaction page (beginning https://)?
Merchants accepting credit cards have their reputation to take care of, as well needing to perform honestly if they are to continue to deal with the card issuing companies, so they have strong incentives take a lot of care over providing a secure and honest service. By far the majority can be trusted. The risk is greatest if you are not dealing with a genuine merchant but with an identity thief pretending to be a merchant.
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The information on this site is designed to help you understand the issues and improve your protection. No method of protection can be absolute. We recommend that you keep abreast of the ever-changing issues and do your own research to keep informed.
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