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Identity Theft / Fraud Specialist Scam

Scammers are posing as identity theft / fraud specialists in order to obtain personal information from the victim.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) kicks off on October 1st.  This initiative, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, hopes to both remind and inform the public of the importance of staying safe and secure online.   Cyberspace is now ever-present in all facets of our lives and affects us all.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of this nationwide campaign.  The ITRC is proud to once again be a champion of this important initiative and has dedicated several special activities to help spread awareness.  Check out the calendar below for a list of ways that the ITRC is helping to promote National Cyber Security Awareness Month.


Week/Theme Description Activity

Week 1 October 1-6, 2013

10 Years & Beyond: General Online Safety & STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

The next ten years in cybersecurity are critical to ensure a safe, secure, resilient cyberspace where the American way of life can thrive. Given the stakes we must remain focused on meeting the challenges of the next ten years.

10/1 ITRC will be participating in SDG&E's Cybersecurity and Privacy Townhall

10/1 ITRC will be participating in NCSAM kick-off activities

10/1 Post Blog: How Far We Have Come

10/2 NCSAM Pinterest Board

10/3 Regular Twitter Chat on NCSAM


Week 2 October 7-13, 2013

Being Mobile: Online Safety & Security 


Emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity no matter where you are or what device you are using.

10/8 Post Blog: Tablet Security

10/10 ITRC will be participating in Securing Our eCity's CyberFest 2013 - The Truth about Cybersecurity in San Diego


Week 3: October 14-20, 2013

Cyber Education and the Next Generation of Cyber Leaders


Highlights the importance of fostering the next generation cyber workforce through education and training.

10/15 Post Blog: Co-habitating Workspace

10/16 Post NCSAM ID Theft Protection Tip

Week 4: October 21-27, 2013


Focuses on national and local efforts to prevent traditional crimes like theft, fraud, and abuse that can also take place online.

10/22 Post Blog: Cybercrime Resource List

10/24 Special Edition Twitter Chat on Cybercrime

Week 5: October 28-31, 2013

Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure

Highlights the growing intersection between cyber and physical security when protecting the Nation’s critical infrastructure. 10/29 Post Blog:  Cybsecurity - Keep it going all year long

Additional resources for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

To get involved:

  • Find or register a local event on the official calendar.
  • Get information on how your government, law enforcement, business, school, or organization can take action during NCSAM.
  • Teach elementary, middle, and high school students about Internet safety and security.
  • Follow @cyber, @DHSgov, and post cybersecurity tips, news, and resources highlighting NCSAM on social media sites.

National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)



Vocabulary words to know:

·   Blog – A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts

·  Collection Agencies – businesses or attorneys whose job is to collect money owed by “you” to another business. You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection and Practices Act about how they can act.

·   Credit Report – a kind of report card about your credit history

·   Credit Reporting Agencies - Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. These are three separate companies that keep large databases about your credit history.

·   Dumpster Diving – going into a trash can for documents that can be used for identity theft

·   Felony – a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a long term in prison (i.e. violent crime, high damage identity theft crime)

·   Firewall – software that blocks your computer information from an outside source

·   Forgery – creating a false document, altering a document or writing a false signature for the illegal benefit of the person making the forgery

·   Fraud – a type of crime used to gain services, money, information

·   Identity theft – a crime that occurs when a person steals your personal information and uses for self-gain

·  Imposter – someone pretending to be another person

·   Misdemeanor – a crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time (i.e. traffic ticket, sometimes given to first offenders)

·   Peer-to-Peer - P2P is an application that runs on a personal computer and shares files with other users across the internet.

·   Perpetrator – a criminal or an imposter

·  Phishing – a scam that tries to trick you into giving our your SSN and other personal information

·  Scam – trickery used to gain information

·   Shoulder Surfing – the act of listening in or looking over someone’s shoulder to see information they can use to steal you identity

·   Social networking - refers to a broad class of web sites and services that allow you to connect with friends, family, and colleagues online, as well as meet people with similar interests or hobbies, i.e. MySpace, Facebook

·   Social Security number (SSN) – a unique identifier issued by the Social Security Administration to all individuals

Discussion topics: (and reinforcement of video material)

·  Should changes be made in business practices to help stop identity theft? If so, what?

·  Are consumers completely responsible for this problem?

·   Why do identity thieves do what they do? Why do they steal? (hint- money, revenge, social problems)

·  How do you think victims feel about having their identity stolen? (see ITRC Fact Sheet 108)

·  How many ways do you think it can negatively affect their lives? (see The Aftermath Studies)

·   List the different ways identity thieves steal information and find one good solution for each technique.

·   They say that this crime hurts businesses. Do you really think that businesses are losing money to this crime or is someone else paying the bill? If so, who and why?   (hint:   will a company really write off the money or raise prices?)

·  What can YOU do to help combat this crime?

·  If you know a family member, friend or someone you personally knew was using your Social Security number illegally, how would you handle the problem?

·   Scams- what are some ways a thief could try to trick you into giving him/her your SSN either by the telephone or Internet? (see ITRC

·   Blogs- Can blogging be made safer?

·   Why do you think different studies and surveys, about the number of victims, vary so much? (hint- what is identity theft)  


·    Research the history of the Social Security number including:

o     Who got the first card?

o     Whose SSN was most stolen (hint- wallet maker)?

o    How is your SSN determined?

o     Why do you get a SSN before your first birthday and when was that procedure started?   (Note: Years ago, individuals only got a SSN when they started to work.)

·   Make a list of at least 8 popular scams and explain them to your classmates\

·   Find a survey or study on the victims of identity theft and explore the impact of this crime.  

·  Debates:   Have two groups with one representing the business interests and one consumer interests and discuss the changes they would like to see in protecting personal identifying information from identity theft. Remember, the business side is also concerned about the cost of change.

·   Family activity: have each student take home the “Are Your Identity Savvy” quiz and test family members for identity theft safety.

·   What are some of your rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act)?

·   What are some of your rights under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection and Practices Act)?

·   Create a short presentation for another class about identity theft and tell them what they need to know about this crime.

·   List types of career options that are associated with the reduction and alleviation of identity theft?   Consider Information Technology, forensic sciences, law enforcement, privacy officers and advocates, fraud investigators, and legislators. Why is each important?

Teen Space FAQ's

To all interested students, teachers and parents:

Hello and thank you for contacting the ITRC. Identity theft is an area to be concerned with, not just for adults but also for teens and children. The very fact that you have a Social Security number puts you at risk. Everyone should know that identity theft is more than just a financial crime. These FAQs will help you understand what you need to know as a responsible consumer, and what companies should be doing to protect you.

Standard Questions:

  • What is identity theft? This question has two answers. The true definition of identity theft is when a criminal (or unauthorized person) uses your personal identifying information to start new credit accounts, commit crimes in your name, get loans and even perhaps a job. A broader definition includes the use of an existing credit card or bank account. Part of the difference in statistics you hear about is due to the difference in definitions. Clearly by including credit card takeover/fraud you increase the victim count considerably.
  • How many victims of identity theft are there annually? In Gartner’s 2007 study, it was reported that approximately 15 million people had been victims in a 12 month period that ended August 2006. According to the FTC, this number is estimated at nearly 9 million. Since law enforcement around the country does not often collect statistics about identity theft, there is no one conclusive answer.
  • What can I do to prevent becoming a victim? The reality is that consumers are limited in what they can do. The business community holds most of our information and is the key to identity theft control and prevention. See our web site and view the video, Stolen Futures
  • Is the business community responsible for this problem? The group responsible for identity theft is criminals. The business community definitely has to protect our information, as do consumers themselves. The business community is responsible for protecting any information that they collect from you. When that information is compromised, that is considered a breach.
  • What are common ways a criminal gets your information ? A few examples of how thieves obtain your information include dumpster diving, shoulder surfing, phishing and scams, and stolen mail. Take our Identity Theft Quiz here.
  • What is the impact of this crime financially or emotionally?
    • Financially: It is important to recognize that financial identity theft is the most commonly studied form of this crime. As such, most studies only look at the financial impact of identity theft. Financial impact may include: denied credit, lost job and wages, higher interest rates and
      low credit scores.
    • Emotionally: Most studies on identity theft do not even address the emotional impact of this crime. Emotional reactions to identity theft include: anger, frustration, powerlessness, hopelessness and loss of trust. Please refer to the various Aftermath Studies found under surveys on the ITRC website. You will find some current and insightful information there based on a victim studies we’ve done over the last five years.
  • Is this crime growing? In most opinions, definitely yes. Not only are victim numbers growing but the criminals are getting better at stealing information and using it.
  • Where can I find more information about security breaches? The ITRChas lists of breaches from 2005 through the present time. You will find some interesting information on these lists and links to the articles that provide additional material for your reports.
  • When did this crime start- historical information? Criminal identity theft has been going on since biblical times. Financial identity theft, when criminals use your Social Security Number (SSN), probably began just a short time after the credit industry started to use this number as a personal identifier. Go to the Social Security Administration website to find out about the history of the SSN.
  • What does the ITRC do? We help victims, consumers, legislators, media, governmental agencies and law enforcement understand about identity theft and related issues. In addition, the ITRC strives to keep the flow of information going between these groups.
  • Why isn’t anyone doing anything more about this? This is a complex crime and there isn't just ONE answer. Many working groups and task forces are working on establishing best practices guidelines for use industry wide. This effort is represented in the FTC’s Red Flag requirements for Financial Institutions and Creditors. In addition, there are more and more victim advocacy groups recognizing the need to greater assistance victims of this crime. Law enforcement is also becoming increasingly responsive to victims of this crime however, due to budget limitations, some law enforcement agencies may not be as responsive to white collar crime as they are to violent crime (an understandable position in terms of public safety).
  • Does the Internet add to the problem of identity theft? It is safe to use the Internet assuming you understand how to use it wisely. The internet is a tool used by thieves but we’ve never met a computer that stole one's identity. Read about this in our Consumer and Victim Resource guides.
  • May I quote your information or use your logo for my paper? No one is given permission to use our logo. As to information, not without asking permission in writing. Please email us at itrc@idtheftcenter and state the specific purpose. We highly recommend reading the material and then rewriting it in your own words.

We recommend the following resource sites for information about privacy and identity theft:

    This web site contains information on prevention tips, statistics and what to do if you are a victim. You will also find information on legislation and a complete reference library.

Other sites you may find helpful:

    It is full of information on privacy issues and ID theft. Please take the time to surf its depths. We especially recommend the sections on new entries (the most up-to-date information), fact sheets, case histories, and speeches and testimony. "Nowhere to Turn" is the most comprehensive survey/report done on identity theft victims today. Many of the speeches and testimony were created to support legislative bills.
    created by an attorney and a nationally recognized expert in privacy and ID theft. She also offers a book for victims. Please mention we referred you.
    Federal Trade Commission. This site contains facts and stats you may find useful.
    U.S PIRG is a nonprofit advocacy organization that works for stronger privacy laws
    National Criminal Justice Reference Service
    US Government Accounting Office (facts and figures)
    This is a good general research area on a variety of topics
    Listing of legislative bills in California. You will find similar ones for each state.
    Listing of legislative bills introduced in the U.S. Senate
    Social Security Administration (for history of the Social Security number)
    US Secret Service
    Info on internet fraud
    The FBI and their InternetComplaintCenter

Should you decide you need further information after finishing your preliminary research, please feel free to email us. We will respond as quickly as we can. Call toll-free at 888-400-5530 (8am-4:30 pm Pacific Time), Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Again, good luck and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any further questions after going through this.



This FAQ should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individuals for their own use, should be directed to ITRC.

Copyright Identity Theft Resource Center®, all rights reserved.
Created by ITRC

The HACK and CRACK ATTACK Live Feed 

The ITRC news feed on this page is presenting current Internet threats and information. This RSS feed is provided courtesy of Trend Micro. This list updates continually, making you aware of some of the most recent threats to your Internet safety. Click on any article to see the full article on the Trend Micro website.  ITRC encourages you to bookmark this page to keep abreast of the latest Internet threats.

The Widget Tool, courtesy of Trend Micro, allows you to check the current Internet threat level. The Widget will also allow you to verify a URL to see if it is safe before going to a website. Type in the URL and press “enter” to get a report on a website.

Click to use Trend Micro Website URL checker


Today, thieves are coming up with more and more devious ways to try and trick you into giving them your personal information, one of which is through scams. Scams can take the form of emails, text messages, phone calls, through social media accounts and more. To minimize your risks, it’s important to not only know how to detect one but it’s also imperative to be aware and stay up-to-date on the latest scams

What information do thieves want?

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Bank account or credit card numbers
  • Driver’s license number
  • Insurance policy numbers (medical and auto)
  • Date of birth
  • State or employee identification number.

Universal Rules

  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • A bank, credit card company, or utility company will never ask for your personal information by email, whether you have an account or not, period.
  • Never give out personal information, credit card or account numbers on calls/emails/texts that you didn’t initiate.
  • Before clicking on any links within emails or text messages, be sure to confirm the sender is legitimate.
  • Always be on the lookout for bad English and grammatical errors.

It is of prime importance to know the scams that thieves use to trick you into giving information. They then use the information to steal your identity. Compare this to a defensive driving course. It is not enough to know how to use a phone or the Internet. You must know how to use this technology safely, including increased awareness of situations that could lead to identity theft. Below you will find Fact Sheets, Solutions and Blogs to learn more about scams and how to protect yourself.


Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet 123: Scam Help

Fact Sheet 142: Protecting Your Computer from WiFi Dangers

Fact Sheet 147: Risks of Mobile Applications 


Solution 13: How do I Protect My Information on the Internet

Solution 19: File Sharing and Peer - 2 - Peer Software Safety

Solution 20: Email Account Take Over

Solution 25: Detecting Scams

Solution 34: IRS/ITRC Top 13 Things Taxpayers Should Know


Want to Report a Scam?

The BBB Scam Tracker allows you report a scam you have fallen victim to or have become aware of as well as search for scams that have been reported by others.

Want to Report Fraud?

You can report fraud to STOPFRAUD.GOV which also provides a listing of resources to help find suspected cases of financial fraud.

Want to Report CyberCrime?

You can report internet crimes and complaints to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at


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