How do these people get my name? If you have a credit card, your name is sold to third parties, if you do not want this to happen, you should contact your credit card companies to inform them that you do not want your information to be sold. See the privacy notice that comes with your bill. If you enter contests, your information is made public. Also, when you buy a new product and fill out warranty cards, those companies sell the information you provide to other companies. Since when did your toaster manufacturer need to know your annual household income to extend your toaster warranty? Thieves use dumpster digging, phishing, and pharming to get your information. Things they steal from your trash include:
o Pre-approved credit card offers – they are completed and the card is sent to a different address
o Loan applications: they complete the application and send the money to a false address.
o Bank statements: then they have your bank account number and can print counterfeit checks
Becky Palmer, a consumer credit counselor, knew of someone who had their wallet stolen and used their credit card to buy a $ 5,000.00 gift card at Wal Mart, which later became very difficult to trace.
Those most at risk are the elderly, people with disabilities, and immigrants, but remember that everyone, including children, is at risk. Older people are at home all day; they may receive a phone call from a bogus charity asking for money. Immigrants are desperate for credit, they may have just arrived in the US and know that they need credit to do anything and are not aware of these scams. People with disabilities are at home and can be victims of phone or online fraud. There have also been cases of home care providers taking advantage of their clients. Remember, it is not always a stranger who can steal someone’s identity. Did you know that children can be victims of identity theft? This could hurt or ruin their credit before they can even build credit for themselves. There have been cases of parents using a child’s name for their electric or telephone bill when they have bad credit or owe money to the utility company. The thieves will obtain the social security number of these children and then use that number to obtain credit cards and accumulate purchases.
Some of these scam artists will call you and say they are from a fictitious charity. They will offer to have your contribution automatically deducted from your checking account and ask for your routing number, bank name and account number. DO NOT GIVE THIS INFORMATION! If you take a call from a salesperson over the phone, ask them the following questions, and if it’s a fraud, they’ll hang up quickly.
o Who do you work for? They will try to give you the name of the fake charity here, so ask them “who pays your salary?”
o How much of my donation (percentage) goes to this charity and what is the rest of the money used for? “If they are real, they can give you this information easily.
o What is the full name, address, and phone number of the charity?
Once you have the information above, you can check with the state attorney general’s office or secretary of state to see if the charity is registered. Also check the charity’s rating through the Better Business Bureau at http://www.give.org.