Those who wish to steal from others are often willing to stop at nothing. There are an endless number of scams to watch out for, and no matter how outlandish they may seem, it is best to be prepared.
Credit Card Skimming
When you stop at a gas station to fill up your tank, you may want to think—or look—twice before sliding your card into the card reader at the pump. Fraudsters—unbeknownst to customers and gas station attendants—can install card skimming devices into the self-pay card readers, which allows them to access all information stored on the magnetic strip of your credit card. The information contained on your card’s magnetic strip includes your name, the card’s number and expiration date, and other important details. As you can imagine, access to this personal information will allow fraudsters to make unauthorized purchases on your card.
Someone who is looking to steal your identity won’t hesitate to dig inside a dumpster to retrieve your personal documents. If you aren’t careful about properly storing or disposing this sensitive information, someone who’s looking could easily find it. Once you no longer have use of a personal document, it’s best to shred that information to ensure that no one else will be able to get a hold of it.
Phishing, Vishing, and Smishing
Most of us are familiar with receiving curious emails from unknown sources. These phishing emails usually include requests for bank account information and other private data. The senders will claim that they’re emailing to award you a prize in the form of a large amount of money, or to extend an exclusive business offer. Fraudsters will even call you and pretend to be from a familiar business or government institution, and make urgent requests for you to reveal your personal information. This is called vishing; and if you don’t answer the phone, they will likely leave a voicemail. Smishing is the latest trend in this category of scams, and is the text messaging version of phishing and vishing. It is important to know that government institutions, your financial institution, and most businesses will never text or call you to request personal or payment information. If you receive a phone call requesting this type of information, verify that the caller is legitimate by hanging up and calling them back at a phone number you know is correct (on their website or on the back of your credit/debit card), or requesting that they mail you a paper copy of what they are requesting.