A Personal Experience with Identity Theft
Some months ago, before there was much publicity regarding phishing and identity theft, I personally became a victim of Identity Theft.
My first inkling that Iíd been scammed came from a telephone call from my bank asking if I had been to Italy or Roumania. Of course I had not. I was informed by the bank that a number of charges for hotel bills and cash withdrawals had been made from my account.
Thieves had made a counterfeit Debit Card with which to rifle my account.
I had a substatial balance in the account so I had to have the bank transfer enough from my savings to cover these charges, otherwise I would have checks "bounce". We , on the advice of the bank closed the old account and opened a new one.
At first I could not imagine how it happened, then I remembered. Iíve been an eBayer for several years and I use Paypal frequently.
Some weeks previously I had received e-mail from eBay stating that there were some attempts to fraudulently access my account and they wanted to verify my account information. They said the matter was urgent and if I didnít respond promptly my account would be suspended.
I thought this was a bit odd, so I clicked on several links to see if it was a legitimate message and the links worked so I complied with the request. The result was that my checking account was cleaned out.
Since then I have found out ways to verify whether these messages are bogus or not. If you visit my web site http://www.caveatemptorus.com you will find detailed information in this regard. Checking a few links is not sufficient to verify the validity of a document.
Here in a nutshell is the best way to avoid this type scam:
DO NOT ANSWER ANY E-MAIL asking for personal financial data.
EBay, Paypal, banks and other institutions never use e-mail for such purposes.
If you are concerned about your accounts initiate the contact yourself, then youíll know youíre dealing with the right party.
NEVER GIVE YOUR PIN NUMBER to anyone for any reason. The only purpose it has is to relieve you of your money. Merchants donít need it when you make purchases.
DO NOT USE DEBIT CARDS or your checking account for online or phone transactions, in spite of Paypalís inducements. Use a consumer protected Credit Card. You have much better protection.
I recovered my money from the bank as this was a case of fraud, but it took several months. Since then I have received any number of similar messages, purportedly from eBay and Paypal. You can forward them to email@example.com for verification. All the ones I sent were bogus.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Written by:George W. cannata, Author and publisher of tthe web site http://www.caveatemptorus.com
A shopping guide/ fraud digest web site.
The author is a retired manufacturing executive with many years experience in procurement.
You may copy or reprint this article so long as it is not altered in any way and that all links are include and the author receives full credit.