Criminals are becoming more clever in their attempts to steal consumers' identities. In New York, the Suffolk County Police Department says it has recently investigated three new variations of the identity theft scam.
In one, the scammer uses technology to display a false message on the consumers' caller ID screen, indicating the call is from a legitimate financial institution. Unwary consumers who give the caller personal information have their identity stolen.
Consumers also report calls in which they are told to call an automated voice mail system to get details on a problem with their credit card account. The automated system instructs them to enter their account number using the touch tone key pad, allowing the scammer to steal their account number.
Scammers have also reportedly called consumers posing as security personnel investigating irregular activity on their credit card. They trick the victim into revealing the three digit security on the back of the card, which an increasing number of businesses are requiring as verification.
How do you protect yourself in these situations? Police say you should never reveal any sensitive data to anyone who calls you on the phone. If you think they might be legitimate, hang up and call the institution or agency back by looking up the number.