One of the problems with identity theft is that it can happen in a number of ways. There are phishing scams that try to get you to share personal information via email, and text message scams are also appearing. Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether or not you are being set up for a scam, or for ID fraud because it appears that you are responding to someone legitimate.
This is the case when it comes to a spoofed caller ID as well. Many of us have caller ID now, and use it in order to determine whether or not to pick up the phone. If the caller ID indicates a telemarketer, you probably won’t pick up the phone. However, if the name of your bank shows up in the caller ID, you might want to pick up because you have no idea whether or not there is a problem that needs your attention.
Unfortunately, no matter what the caller ID says, you might not actually be talking to someone from a respected organization.
Spoofing the Caller ID
It’s possible for scammers to “spoof” the caller ID by registering a phone number under a false name. So the ID fraudster might register a number in the name of a charity, or in the name of a credit card issuer or a bank. It’s not even very hard to set up a spoof this way. Often, all that needs to be done is to log on to web sites used for that purpose, pay a small fee, and then set up the information that you are supposed to see.
When you get the call, you pick up the phone, and you might be asked for personal information. If the caller is spoofing a charity, you will be asked for a donation. Once you give your credit card information, the scammers have what they need to make purchases using your card. In some cases, the scammer simply makes a one-time charge so that you don’t get suspicious and have the card issuer charge back the amount. You think you’ve donated to charity, but you’ve actually just turned money over to a scammer.
In other cases, though, the information is used to steal your identity. Someone posing as a bank representative might get password information, answers to security questions, or bank account numbers. This can be completely devastating to your situation if you aren’t careful.
Be Suspicious of Calls Out of the Blue
It’s a good idea to be suspicious of calls out of the blue. Realize that those you actually bank with already have your full account information. They shouldn’t need more than the last four digits of your account number or debit card number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Also, be concerned if the security questions you are asked aren’t those you set yourself at some point.
Instead of giving out this personal information, get off the phone. Then, call the official number you have for customer service. You can ask about any problems with your account in this more official and direct manner, and report the possibility of fraud.