In Alabama and around the country, a relatively new scam is underway to steal identities by getting you to reveal your social security number and date of birth. According to this article by the FBI, here is how this insidious scam works:
The phone rings, you pick it up, and the caller identifies himself as an officer of the court. He says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller says he’ll need some information for “verification purposes”-your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number.
This is when you should hang up the phone. It’s a scam.
The FBI explains how it works and why it works:
“They get you scared first,” says a special agent in the Minneapolis field office who has heard the complaints. “They get people saying, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m not a criminal. What’s going on?'” That’s when the scammer dangles a solution-a fine, payable by credit card, that will clear up the problem.
With enough information, scammers can assume your identity and empty your bank accounts.
“It seems like a very simple scam,” the agent adds. The trick is putting people on the defensive, then reeling them back in with the promise of a clean slate. “It’s kind of ingenious. It’s social engineering.”
As the Identity Thieves get more creative, we have to be on our guard. When we find out we have been the victims of Identity Theft, we need to go on the offensive against the responsible parties which include the credit card companies and the credit reporting companies when these companies do not remove the fraudulent accounts. We will post more on this subject in the coming days. [5-14-07 Update – click here for a post on victims fighting back under state and federal laws].
Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.