MoneyGram, the second largest money transfer business in the U.S., has learned a thing or two about the lengths fraudsters will go to dupe consumers.
Sometimes the key to sniffing out the bad guys is to throw on your skull cap and think like one.
Here are four things they say identity thieves don't want their victims to know:
Your trash is treasure: Go ahead and toss those credit card offers in the trash – if you want some savvy crook to sign up under your name. "A good rule of thumb is to shred all personal documents before disposing, from unsolicited credit card applications received in the mail to receipts received at retailer check-out locations," says MoneyGram's Kim Garner, senior vice president of global security and investigations.
Your Facebook profile is a cheat sheet: Use LinkedIn or Facebook? You top the list of potential fraud victims and here's why: "Information you post on the Internet is never completely private, and fraudsters are adept at accessing information online, even within privacy settings," Garner says. Don't post your full birth date, home address, pets' names or anything else that could be used to impersonate you.
Family and friends are key: If you ever wondered what fraudsters wanted with all your old emails, it's unlimited access to your friends and family. "Fraudsters can hack email addresses and pose as a friend or family member, and then ask you to wire funds for some type of emergency, such as bail money or medical care," Garner says. It's one of the oldest tricks in the books and is still working, especially on the elderly.
They're looking to "hire": If you haven't seen headlines about job seekers getting duped into forking over their tax refund – and even their lives in some cases – then here's the skinny: They prowl job boards and hone in on consumers looking for quick cash. "Notifications of a job offer that asks you to send money via a wire transfer before you can start to make money may not be the best job for you," Garner warns. "Remember, you shouldn’t have to pay anything upfront to start a job."
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