Of all the phone scams currently out there, one of the shadiest is the ones from fake mortgage companies. These companies aren't often looking for money from you, but instead work their way into a conversation with you that convinces you to provide them with a large amount of personal information. This information is then saved and sold to other companies either so that you will receive many more telemarketing calls and junk mail, but also for identity theft.
Identity theft is a growing risk when it comes to phone scams because it seems relatively harmless. This is especially true as many identity thieves don't request your credit card numbers, but instead collect information such as your full name, address, phone number, age, social security number, and other identifying pieces of information.
There are many different crimes that can be committed through identity theft. The most obvious is credit card fraud, but this is only the very beginning of what can occur. Essentially the criminals will take the information they have collected from you and then, pretending that they are you, will make money illegally in your name.
There are four primary types of identity theft and they require very innocent seeming personal information in order to take place. These are:
oFinancial identity theft - where your name, address, and mother's maiden name are required to access account information and purchase products and services.
oCriminal identity theft - where someone apprehended for a crime pretends to be you.
oIdentity cloning - where someone collects your information to assume your daily life.
oBusiness/Commercial identity theft - where instead of personal information, business information is used in order to obtain a credit card for which the business will be held responsible.
There are also many cases where identity theft isn't used for the crime itself, but is instead used to make crimes easier, such as with espionage, illegal immigration, and terrorism. Protect yourself from this kind of crime - often masking itself as a phone offer from a mortgage company - by doing what you can to stop telemarketers and annoying calls with the Do Not Call registry, and never providing them with your personal information.
Dwayne is an old consumer advocate who has way to much time on his hands (the wife says) so rants to his audience on EzineArticles.
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