One of the Top Internet Fraud Scams Exposed

by : Stan Jenkins

One of the fastest growing crimes in the country is identity theft. It's a terrible crime that can wreak havoc on not only the financial lives but also the emotional and mental well-being of its victims. One of the reasons this crime is growing so quickly is that the Internet makes it easier for the criminals to obtain other people's personal information.

Before the proliferation of the Internet identity theft still occurred. There are many off-line ways to obtain peoples personal information like stealing people's mail or going through their trash to find discarded financial documents. The Internet offers these thieves easier access to their victims sensitive information. There are websites and forums where people actually buy and sell things like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers etc.

In addition to simply purchasing information from another criminal, one way these thieves obtain the information they're looking for is called phishing. In a phishing scam the mark, or potential victim, will usually receive an e-mail asking them to click on a link taking them to an official looking webpage to fill in their personal information. The e-mail will claim to be from a legitimate business or institution such as a bank. The e-mail you receive will say something like "there's been suspicious activity on your account please click this link to log in and update your account information". If you click the link you'll be taken to a page that looks just like a page from your bank's website but it's really just a cloned page. The cloned page looks identical to your bank's page but everything you type in on that page is recorded by the person running the phishing scam. The information you typed in can now be used to steal money from your bank account, open lines of credit in your name that will be maxed out and never paid, or they may just sell your information to someone else who will do all of those things.

If you suspect that you may have been the victim of identity theft or a phishing scam you should obtain a copy of your credit report to see if there is any suspicious activity. If there is an indication of this type of activity on your credit report you should call the police and file a police report. You should also carefully scrutinize your credit card bills every month. If there are any charges on your card that you did not make you can call your credit card company to notify them of the fraudulent charges. Your credit card company will usually reverse the charges right away, send you an affidavit of fraud to fill out, and close that account and issue you a new credit card number.

Many people either don't really know about identity theft or think that it's something that happens to somebody else. With information so readily available and easily obtained identity theft can and does happen to anyone. The best way to fight identity theft is to prevent it from happening in the first place. There are many things you can do to either stop it from ever happening or to at least detect it as soon as it happens so that you can stop it quickly before any more damage is done. The criminals are always looking for a way to easily make a quick buck. We need to educate ourselves so that we don't become one of their victims.