While phishing email scams are currently the most frequently seen type of identity fraud, there are other ways for a criminal to gain private information. These scams can be perpetrated in the online environment and/ or physical world. Many times the criminals utilize multiple techniques to obtain private information and perpetrate fraud. The information below describes different techniques used by criminals.
Other types of fraud or what is often called "traditional fraud" are scams that normally involve physical documents or contact with another person.
An unsuspecting victim accepts a job in which they are paid a commission to facilitate money transfers through their account or apply for a job that asks them to set up a new bank account. These job scams can be initiated via unsolicited email or through reputable online job boards. They offer work-at-home jobs or accounting positions. The job scam offers the victim a retained portion of the funds being moved through their account(s).
Lottery or sweepstakes scams
Victims receive unsolicited communication that they are the winner of a lottery that they did not enter. The communication will direct them to pay a small percentage for fake taxes or other fees in order to receive their prize.
Victims are usually found in an online dating site or chat room where the criminal asks them to send money for a variety of reasons, including a need for urgent surgery, to make travel arrangements to meet in person, or to help them facilitate receipt of their inheritance.
Victims may receive a check for something they sold over the Internet. The check will be made out for more than the selling price. The victim will be instructed to deposit the check, but send back the difference in cash.
It is an old technique but criminals still scan the phone book in order to cold call victims hoping they reach customers of a bank they are claiming to be calling on behalf of. If the call is not initiated by the customer, the customer should ask for information from the caller, never give out sensitive information, and report the phone call to his or her bank.
Nigerian Scam Letters
This type of scam involves unsolicited letters and emails that are sent to individuals and companies offering the recipient something of value for their assistance in transferring millions of dollars to American banks. These "old-fashioned fraud schemes" have existed for a long time. Examples are bogus business opportunities, chain letters, "free goods", work-at-home schemes, diet scams, etc. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a list of the most common schemes at http://ftc.gov. Should you receive one of these letters, please do not reply, but report the letter to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.
General Online Tips and Information
- Monitor your online account activity for debits, credits, check orders, and new payees and accounts that you don’t recognize. If you see anything that looks suspicious, notify your banker immediately.
- If you use Wi-Fi networks, remember that many public hotspots are not encrypted and therefore not as safe as secured networks. An online search for safety on Wi-Fi networks will turn up helpful articles on how to protect your device in public settings.