Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. The Better Business Bureau leads the way by publishing a recurring and continually updated list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each day in its Scam Tracker. Take a look at some of their recent top scams or fraud attempts.
#1 – Payday Loan Scam
The world of payday loans and advanced funds loans can be filled with a lot of shady pitfalls, but one report to the BBB last week indicated an even scarier threat. The victim went online and applied for a loan through a payday loan website. He was immediately inundated with phone calls from a company he hadn’t heard of, approving him for the loan and informing him that he has to pay a lot of fees upfront.
If you had the money to pay hefty fees upfront, chances are you wouldn’t be applying for a payday loan to see you through. Watch out not only for scam companies that bilk their victims with these tactics, but also with unsecured websites that steal your personal identifying information.
#2 – Credit Repair Leading to Identity Theft
This victim report was very interesting in that it targeted someone who has had trouble with his credit in the past. He received an automated phone call that was quite aggressive about an overdue bill. The victim has never had an account with the company listed in the phone call, so he knew he was in the clear.
But after calling the company the next day just to be sure that there wasn’t an error or an account that had fraudulently been opened in his name, he discovered that this particular tactic wasn’t about getting the fee paid: it was about stealing his personal identifiable information.
Banking on the fact that people who’ve had to work hard to get their credit back in shape won’t remember which accounts they’ve opened, scammers call and pretend to be a company that has yet to be paid off. Their only intention is to gather up your sensitive information in order to steal your identity. Remember, never give out your personal data to someone who calls you or emails you. If they’re calling you about an account you supposedly opened, they should already know everything they need to know.
#3 – Shipping Scam
A victim reported that he had been hired to receive packages, affix a shipping label, and then mail the packages to the recipients. He would be paid for each package, but of course, after only a short time the company stopped responding, removed its website, and left him holding the bill for the shipping that he’s already paid out. In other versions of this scam, the victim actually pays for the item as well, expecting to be repaid when the account is settled.
Unfortunately, this scam doesn’t just involve the money that’s lost in shipping charges. There’s a very real chance that the packages the victim received were actually stolen goods; even if he has no knowledge of the operation, he could still be held criminally accountable for his part in it.
Think it through: why would someone pay you to receive and then reship a package? Wouldn’t it be cheaper and faster to just ship the package to the intended recipient, and cut out the middle man? Beware any “job” offers that promise you money for basically doing nothing.
For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker site or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.
Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, anyone can use our services, and anyone can help us help others. If you found this information useful, please consider donating to the Identity Theft Resource Center to help us keep our services free to the public.