Every week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with various agencies to bring you news of the most prevalent or most newsworthy scams that were reported or uncovered in the last week. The team at Scam Detector are just a few of the industry professionals helping us keep watch and raise awareness.
#1 – Caller ID Spoofing
Do you remember getting your first phone with Caller ID, which included a separate box that had to be plugged into the wall to retrieve the information? We all thought it was a great innovation back at that time! Now, caller ID is a pretty standard feature of almost every cell phone, but it doesn’t work the way it used to in every case. Back in the days of the little plug-in box, the phone line was retrieving actual information about the phone line that initiated the call. Now, cell phones retrieve whatever information the cell phone owner incorporated as his user ID. Scammers can change these settings in their phones to look like official accounts, to hide their actual countries of origin, and more.
If you get a phone call that appears to be from a legitimate company, a bank, a credit card company, or other similar business, don’t go by the caller ID information as proof of authenticity. Changing your caller ID name is as easy as adjusting your settings, and selecting a phone number and town are as simple as buying a prepaid cell phone and inputting different city information at setup. If a caller asks you for your personally identifiable information, do not give it out. Any legitimate company would already have it before calling you, and a caller ID is NOT proof of that person’s identity.
#2 – Prepaid Payment Cards
We share the news of prepaid debit card scams with such regularity that it’s a wonder people still fall for them. In fact, Scam Detector’s notification this week includes five different scams that they’ve tracked down, all involving prepaid debit cards. To read the full details of each of these scams visit their weekly report by following the link, but in the meantime, keep this in mind: prepaid debit cards are an incredible convenience for a lot of people, but they are quickly becoming the ultimate tool of the trade for scammers and criminals who commit every type of fraud.
If you are ever asked to pay for anything specifically with a prepaid debit card, stop and think about what you’re doing. Part of the allure of these cards is there is no way to track where the money went, and no way to recover your lost or stolen money. Typically, you can spot the fraud if the person tells you to put the money on a prepaid debit card and then give him the account number and the scratch off PIN number from the back. You’re supposed to believe that’s how you pay him, but instead he’s wiping the funds off your card. You will never see that money again, and you will also never see the goods or service you supposedly just paid for.
#3 – Smartphone Buying Job
With the holidays coming up, we could all use a little extra spending money. At least that’s what the scammers are counting on. There’s been a sharp increase in the “Make hundreds of dollars a day!” ads on the internet, and they’re all scams.
In this smartphone buying scam, you answer an online ad from someone who needs you to buy a new phone. This scam only works if you’re eligible for a new device through a cell phone provider. You go to the cell phone retailer and sign a service contract, which includes a brand-new, top of the line phone. You pass off the phone to this fake employer of yours, he pays you a measly sum, and then he promises to cancel the contract.
The only problem is, he’s just left town with a brand-new iPhone and he never cancels the contract since there’s a hefty fee involved; he’s also not capable of canceling a contract taken out in your name since he’s not an authorized user on your account. He’s sold the brand-new phone, and you get to pay the bill.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a job that pays hundreds of dollars a day for doing nothing. Don’t be taken in by this kind of promise, because it will not go well.
For the rest of the Scam Detector top ten list, check out their website or go to the ITRC list of current frauds and scams.