jackolanterns being captured on phone screen

Halloween is drawing near, and all manner of monsters are waiting in the shadows. Ghosts? Werewolves? Those are just fairy tales. Do not be deceived when your eyes are playing tricks on you, though. The real monsters are more frightening and even worse, they are coming for you.

Drink Your Blood? No, Drain Your Bank Account!

Vampires may be out for a nibble and a pint, but scammers can attack by going after your money. Worse, if you do fall for a scam, numerous cases have shown that the villains might return again and again, demanding more money each time. Garlic will not help you here, though; avoiding scammers means learning how to spot their efforts and ignoring their stories, no matter how scary they might sound.

Shape-Shifting at the Full Moon? No, It Is a Romance Scam!

Romance scams are deeply troubling because the victim not only loses their money (and potentially faces criminal charges), but their adoring “soulmate” turned out to be nothing more than a con artist. If you meet someone online who cannot speak face-to-face or visit for some reason, such as working on an offshore oil rig or being deployed with the military, be very careful about interacting with them. If the talk ever turns to needing money for any reason at all, that is a sure sign of a scam.

A Ghost Rising from the Grave? No, It Is Deceased Identity Theft!

As horrible as it sounds, deceased identity theft can strike whenever we lose a loved one. Even worse, it is easy to accomplish thanks to a lot of publicly available information, like obituaries and death certificates, and it often goes unnoticed because no one is checking up on their loved one’s credit report. If you experience the pain of loss, make sure you take steps to lock down your loved one’s credit report, Social Security number and social media accounts in order to prevent anyone from abusing them.

Spider Webs? No, It Is the Dark Web!

What exactly do hackers do with information they have managed to steal? They either use it for identity theft or they sell it on the Dark Web. This nefarious internet underworld is as scary as any haunted house, only the monsters who are chasing you can actually cause you harm. Protect your information by monitoring your accounts, freezing your credit report if applicable, being mindful not to overshare and securing all of your accounts with strong and unique passwords.

Friendly Trick or Treaters? No, It’s a Phishing Attack!

The best part of Halloween, for young and old alike, is trick-or-treating. Whether you are taking in all the goodies or just enjoying all the costumes that come your way, it is a lot of fun. However, what is not fun is getting caught in the snare of a phishing attack. Much like offering Halloween candy, criminals hold out promises of wealth, free gift cards or high-dollar coupons to your favorite store or even the chance to be recognized by the “boss” for doing a favor. Sometimes the stories are a little scary, too, like a phony threat from the IRS or having your bank account shut down. Whatever you do, do not fall for it. It is not a full-size candy bar, it is a scam that will cost you money, your identity, or both.

Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at 888.400.5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.

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