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ID Theft Consumer Guide



How Identity Theft Happens -- Phone Fraud Schemes

In this day and age there are a number of common ways in which a person intent on committing the crime of identity theft or ID theft can go about stealing your identity. In other words, there are a number of ways in which a person who wants to commit the crime of identity theft can obtain necessary personal and financial information about you to misappropriate your identity.

One of the most common methods an identity thief utilizes to steal a personís identity is the phone fraud scam. In point of fact, there are a number of different phone fraud scams through which you can end up the victim of identity theft.

What are Phone Fraud Scams?

In simple terms, phone fraud scams when it comes to identity theft occur when a criminal contacts you and attempts to obtain from you personal or financial information over the phone. In most instances, these identity thieves pose as representatives of a bank or financial institution, an agency of the government, law enforcement or even representatives of the lottery. (Of course, there are other variations on these themes of identity theft.)

In any event, these scam artists telephone you and misrepresent who they are and what they represent. They work to obtain from you personal and financial information.

What Types of Information Will an Identity Thief Try to Get Over the Phone

Again, while there are variations on the this type of identity theft or ID theft, there are some common pieces of information that an identity thief will try to garner from you during the course of a phone call to you. These pieces of information can include:

  • your Social Security number
  • your date of birth
  • your motherís maiden name (commonly used as a means of identifying a person when it comes to financial accounts)
  • information about financial accounts, including account numbers
  • information about credit cards, including card numbers, expiration dates and the security code number on the back of the card




Protecting Yourself Against Phone Fraud

The best line of defense against this type of identity theft is never to provide this type of information to a caller over the phone. Legitimate businesses and governmental agencies will never call a citizen and ask for this type of information over the phone.

If you make a phone call to a business that you are not particularly familiar with, particularly if you are calling in response to an advertisement you receive, be very cautious about providing any personal or financial information over the phone in such a situation.

When it comes to providing personal and financial information over the phone, be 100% certain that you are communicating with a reputable business on the other end of the line. This includes your bank or the company that provides you with a credit card. By dialing these businesses direct, you will be certain that you are dealing with a bona fide establishment and that you are conveying your personal and financial information through appropriate channels.


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