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How to Recognize Identity Theft Scams

You don’t want to be a victim of identity theft scams if you can help it. One way to avoid them is to recognize a scam when you see it. If you’re like most consumers, you’re faced with scams on a regular basis. You get them in your email, or you may hear ads on radio and television and not realize that they are scams. Here are some ways to know how to recognize them so that you can protect yourself.

Phishing Scams

When you receive email messages asking you to assist someone you do not know in transferring money to you, it’s a phishing scam. For example, an email message that claims you’re a lottery winner but that you need to send your bank account information so that the prize can be transferred to your account is a phishing scam.

A less obvious phishing scam is one in which a company sends an email that appears to be from an online business that you have an account with. The email asks you to click on a link and provide your password or other sensitive information. You should always go directly to the company website to see whether you have any messages to take an action, such as to change your password.

Call to Get Lists

Some companies obtain personal information by pretending to offer a benefit. One of the more popular identity theft scams is to entice listeners of radio or viewers of television to call to get a list, such as list of foreclosed homes or a list of banks that will offer pre-approved credit cards even if you have a bad credit history. What happens is you have to give your information before receiving the list, which is often useless or you could have researched the information yourself on the Internet. The problem is that scam artists will steal your information to open fraudulent accounts.

You can protect yourself from identity theft scams by being very selective about whom you give your information to. It’s also important to install protective software on your computer, such as anti-spyware, so that you don’t accidentally allow others to gain access to your computer as a result of your online activities.

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