It’s true that most scammers need to talk to you in order to get your information. Just think of all the IRS impersonators out there. They love to scare you into sending them money through some ludicrous form of payment (gift cards, anyone?) However, some scammers can actually “get you” without you ever saying a word? How? Read on to find out:
Busy Call Center Scammers Call center fraudsters labor day in and day out, trying to get valuable consumer information and steal your identity, or the money right from your bank account! After all, it’s their full time job to do so.
Unfortunately, it’s easier than ever to harvest personal information, due to company data breaches and the so-called “dark web”. That means that vital information about YOU can fall into the grimy fingers of scammers. These criminals will then spend endless hours calling different companies to find out whether you have accounts with them. Armed with your personal info, they can then answer the verification questions that these companies may ask, and gain access to your accounts.
Even scarier is the fact that scammers have the time needed to make thousands of calls until they finally find a company that you do indeed have an account with.
In addition, there are only around 10,000 possible combinations for a bank account PIN number, so scammers sometimes make thousands of calls to banks, trying different pins until they get the correct one. It may seem like a waste of time, but if they have a “breakthrough”, it’s an instant jackpot, since they can enter your account, change your PIN, and wipe your account clean.
How to Protect Yourself Want to protect yourself against getting your information stolen? The best way to do it is by being very protective of your sensitive data. For example, imagine your spouse asks you, via text, what the PIN number is for a new account, since he’s forgotten it. You reply back with the number. Two days later, your phone gets stolen! To make matters worse, all your hard-earned cash suddenly disappears from your account shortly after. It’s obvious that the thief has made off with more than just your phone— he now knows your PIN number, and perhaps some other personal information, including the phone numbers of all your friends and loved ones.
Don’t send personal information over text message, and don’t give out your phone number freely. Retail companies (and other companies) sometimes ask for it, but you aren’t technically required to give it out. The least amount of companies that have your info, the better. This isn’t being paranoid— it actually reduces your chances of becoming a victim in a security breach scandal. In addition, it’s a great idea to invest in a call blocker to make sure you always miss scammers when they call. Don’t forget to protect your landlines, too!
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