They come in forms of convincing emails, phone calls or even texts but that is how scams are done. It is important to know the different risks that you are exposed to so that you do not become victim to scammers.
‘Phishing’ is where fraudsters send you emails or texts, often appearing to be from your bank, asking you to reply with your security information or click on a link, where they can then access your details. Watch our phishing scams video for more information.
Other emails and texts trick you into downloading malicious software (malware) that helps fraudsters get hold of your details and your money. The messages look like they’re from legitimate organizations and give a plausible story to try to trick you into clicking a link, downloading something or opening an attachment.
Identity theft is one of the tricks that financial scammers use. The effects of this trick are really damaging. When somebody takes on your name and social security number it doesn’t end as it does in the movie. The implications are much worse.
- Hurt Your Job Prospects
Many employers now routinely look at credit history when assessing job candidates. (About half, according to a 2012 study by the Society for Human Resource Management.) A report pockmarked by ID theft-related errors could sink your application. Employers can’t reject you because of what they see on your credit report without telling you, but then, employers can also gin up any old excuse for rejecting you. Legislation to eliminate the practice has been proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and others, and a few states limit it, but odds are you live in a place where an impostor can steal both your money and your job prospects.
P.S.: In a related way, posting your resume online or on job boards can also increase your chances of becoming an identity theft victim.
- Cause Your Auto Insurance Rates to Rise
Virtually all auto insurers use credit scores to set rates, wherever it’s legal (California and Massachusetts ban the practice). A low score can hike premiums by 20% to 50%. Insurers can’t outright reject you because of your credit score without telling you, but they can use the score to offer you higher rates without giving you an explanation. ID theft victims who are struggling to clean up their credit reports are almost certainly paying higher auto insurance rates as a result, and have no way of learning how much the identity theft victim “tax” is.
As more scammers are being exposed there are others are getting sophisticated in the art. If scamming were and industry then it will be one of those industries that have taken the whole world hostage. It is a serious plague everywhere.
Australians have lost almost $46 million to cons and scams in the first six months of 2015.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reports there has already been more than 45,000 complaints made about illegal financial scams operating in Australia this year and has published data on the scams that are causing the most harm for the first time.
Dating and romance scams cost lovelorn people the most, racking up more than $10 million.
Investment schemes were a close second, taking a little over $9 million. Inheritance scams were the next highest, claiming almost $3.5 million, followed by Nigerian scams at $2.4 million, while betting and sports investment schemes rounded out the top five, taking $1.3 million.