A common mode for fraudsters to gain access to people’s personal information and money is to offer work opportunities and/or send a large check for them to deposit and then wire some of the money back. Because the checks are fraudulent, the victim loses the money that they’ve wired out – and may put themselves at further risk for identity theft by offering personal information.
For example, Local community members have reported to receiving solicitations from “Morningside Digital Media”, a fictitious modeling agency based in California. The company targets individuals who pursue employment in the entertainment, modeling and acting industries for false opportunities to work. A target would receive a letter from the company as well as a phony treasurer’s check in the amount of $4,990 for commercial work. The person is then asked to provide personal, identifying information such as his/her name, address, phone, number, social media presence and pictures. The individual is asked to deposit the check, wait 24 hours for it to “clear” and then wire a portion of the funds back to the soliciting organization.
The American Bankers Association offers the following information on how to avoid and/or respond quickly to identity theft:
- Don’t give your social security number or other personal credit information about yourself to anyone who contacts you.
- Tear up receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Keep an eye out for any missing mail.
- Choose to do business with companies you know are reputable, particularly online. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active, indicating a secure transaction.
- Never give out personal financial information in an email.
- Never give out personal financial information over the phone unless you have initiated the contact.
- When using social networking sites, never include personal contact information including birth date, email addresses, physical address, mother’s maiden name or other information that could provide sensitive information to fraudsters or hints to passwords.
- Don’t open email from unknown sources and use virus detection software.
- Protect your PINs (don’t carry them in your wallet!) and passwords; use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically.