The link between a scam and identity theft

Even if you haven’t given the scammers your personal information, the key thing to remember is that if they have targeted you, called you, emailed you or contacted you in any way, it’s possible they already are in possession of some or all of your personal information. This could have been a result of a past data breach you are unaware of, a result of answering fake surveys, mistakenly clicking on malware, or as a result of your information being sold on the dark web where scammers often buy and sell personal and financial information.

ATTENTION: Consumers who have been contacted by scammers could have had their personal information breached. TotalScam!™ highly recommends that consumers whose information has been breached obtain identity theft protection service immediately.

There are several companies that offer identity theft protection in the US. One of the most inexpensive options we were able to find is the protection offered by LifeLock. You can start your protection here.

Disclaimer: The information and opinions contained on this site are not endorsed by LifeLock. TotalScam!™ receives compensation from LifeLock. This helps support our scam prevention efforts.

Can You Be a Victim of Identity Theft?

According to a study done by Javelin Strategy & Research, 16.7 million Americans were victims of identity theft in recent years. A growing concern is that scammers are getting more sophisticated with their efforts often posting fake websites and effecting phone scams posing as trusted institutions from the Social Security Administration to banks and other financial institutions.

In most every scam there is a concerted effort to collect as much information as possible from a victim. The identity theft results range from distressing to devastating.

Here are the 10 ways your identity can be breached and used against:

Social Security Fraud

Your Social Security number is the gateway to everything from credit checks to your social security benefits, a driver’s license, Medicare benefits, and even welfare and Medicaid.

Driver’s License Fraud

The thief has a driver’s license issued under your name with your Driver’s License number and all other information describing you except it has their picture, not yours. You can be fined for traffic crimes you did not commit and if you fail to pay any fines you can lose your license, or have it revoked.

Criminal Identity Theft

This is one of the most serious and damaging types of identity theft. Criminals use your identity when arrested for criminal charges. They don’t show up for the court date and a warrant is issued for your arrest.

Financial Identity Theft

This is the most common form of identity theft. The criminal uses your personal and financial information to open checking accounts, credit cards, car loans, and mortgages.

Child Identity Theft

This is a particularly insidious form of identity theft. Relatives take out loans or credit cards in the name of the child and their identity is stolen. It’s rarely uncovered in a timely manner because people rarely worry about checking a child’s credit report. When the child comes of age their credit rating is devasted making it nearly impossible to obtain a credit card, school loan for college, or any other type of credit for the years it takes to repair their credit.

Change of Address Fraud

In this scam, a scammer redirects and diverts mail to an alternate address. This allows them to data-mine more and more personal and financial information.

Employment Identity Theft

Criminals, jobless and illegal immigrants use stolen identification to obtain jobs they otherwise are not able to get. If crimes are committed at the workplace, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Peer-to-Peer Attacks

Many people in the workplace share a network with their peers. A peer to peer attack occurs when a trusted networking peer is the front for the scam. This often directs the victim to a torrent website where files are shared by the peers. Trojan Horse malware is used to invade the victim’s computer and obtain personal and financial information.

Medical Identity Theft

Scammers use your information to obtain medical care. You get the bill if there is a co-pay, deductible or the insurance company fails to pay. This can also compromise your medical History and your doctor’s ability to properly diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Creation of a New Person

This is the worst-case scenario. A scammer is going beyond fraudulent financial gain, or the other scams identified and actually becomes “you.” They live with and by your name abandoning their past and pose on a daily basis with “your” name and identity.

The Identity Theft Threat is Growing

For many people, discovering their identity has been breached comes as a surprise and a shock. This quickly turns to fear as they scramble to find solutions. Many people use identity theft protection services to protect themselves in the event their identity is breached. They think of it the same way everyone thinks of medical insurance. Medical insurance can’t prevent an accident or illness but it’s the best solution for any medical emergency.

Identity theft protection works the same way and compared to the cost of health insurance, it’s well worth the peace of mind with plans as low as $9 a month.

There are several companies that offer identity theft protection in the US. One of the most inexpensive options we were able to find is the protection offered by LifeLock. You can start your protection here.

Disclaimer: The information and opinions contained on this site are not endorsed by LifeLock. TotalScam!™ receives compensation from LifeLock. This helps support our scam prevention efforts.

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