Category: identity theft

Rise in Identity Theft in Over-60s

Identity theft is where a criminal gets personal information on someone and pretends to be that person so they can take out credit cards, bank accounts, loan agreements etc. in that person’s name.

Identity thieves generally don’t care about the age of their targets as long as they are over 18 (so they buy alcohol etc. with the fake identity) but increasingly the over-60s age group are being targeted.

In the first half of 2018, there were more than 14 thousand reports of identity theft in those aged 60 and above. The total number of identity theft cases in that time was over 80 thousand.

There are more and more people over 60 accessing the Internet so this makes it easier for criminals to find such targets.

And it may be that over-60s are more trusting and less familiar with the dangers of the Internet so don’t take the necessary steps to protect themselves as they should.

Be careful about giving away your private information e.g. name, address, email address, date of birth, bank details etc.

Be equally careful about callers claiming to be from an organisation you deal with e.g. water company, Internet provider, local government, local bank etc.

If in doubt, check the genuine phone number and call them to verify the situation.

Got to https://fightback.ninja/one-third-of-people-fail-on-basic-security-do-you/ for more advice on personal security.

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The Coffee Shop Facebook Like

A very clever way to demonstrate the danger of Facebook Likes was devised by CIFAS (Fraud Prevention Service) and BT.

They used a normal looking coffee shop with a sign in the window saying ’Like Us on Facebook for a Free Coffee and Croissant”.

People saw the sign and did ‘Like’ the coffee shop on their smart phones.. What they didn’t know was that a team of researchers watched their actions and trawled through Facebook and public websites to find them and any personal details they could find about the customer within a maximum of three minutes.

In the coffee shop, their free drink was made and the waitress listening in to the researchers on an earpiece then wrote that personal information on the drink.

The video is at http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/money/money-tips/coffee-shop-customers-shocked-by-like-stunt-in-cifas-data-to-go-video-11364071638280 3/9

The customers reactions are quite funny and range from suspicion to bafflement. Hidden cameras filmed their reactions and the film ends with the line ‘Don’t make it easy for fraudsters. Set your privacy settings’.

This is a great way to show how much of our personal information is online for anyone to find.

In 2015, 23,959 people aged 30 and under were victims of identity fraud. This is up from 15,766 in 2014, and is more than double the 11,000 victims in this age bracket in 2010.

People of all ages can be at risk of identity fraud of course.

Simon Dukes, Cifas Chief Executive, said: “Fraudsters are opportunists. As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, fraudsters have focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details instead.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves.

“We are urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what they share. Social media is fantastic and the way we live our lives online gives us huge opportunities. Taking a few simple steps will help us to enjoy the benefits while reducing the risks. To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine.”

Set the privacy settings on your social media profiles so only you  and people you trust can view them and be careful what you post as fraudsters can often access it.

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The Danger of Online Wish Lists

Christmas is a time when some people make wish lists online and these can be fun but they can inadvertently give away a lot of information to scammers.

Amazon maintains wish lists so in theory other people can buy gifts for you that you do want rather than having to figure out what you might want. Amazon has three levels of privacy – Public, Shared or Private.  Choosing Public lets anyone see the list, Private means just you and shared is where you can choose who gets to see the list.

Allowing this information to be public should be harmless, but people who are trying to steal your identity can use this information to get critical details about you.

Michelle Black works with Hope 4 USA in Ft. Mill. She spends several hours a day helping people recover from ID theft, which is one of the fastest growing crimes.

Black says “A scammer can log into these public websites, public wish lists. From there they might have such information as your city and state, your date of birth, your children’s names and perhaps their dates of birth and they can use that to start putting together the pieces of the puzzle they need to fully steal your identity.”

The thieves then create a fake website by making it look like Amazon or the online wish list company.

They  tell you someone has purchased an item on your list and all you have to do is login to confirm the mailing address.

And if you click on that link and login, the scammer has the information needed to access your account and maybe even for identity theft.

Make sure any online wish list or gift registry is set to Private.

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