Like millions of Americans, you’re probably spending more time online. The extra screen time keeps you connected, but it can also pose a higher risk of identity theft, as scammers take advantage of people doing more of their work, shopping, and schooling online.
ID theft can include account takeover fraud, where a scammer gains access to your bank account or other information without your knowledge. Or, it can be credit card fraud, where a thief uses your card number to buy things and resell them for cash. In addition to common ploys like email or phone phishing scams, some identify fraudsters also use new strategies to prey on targets.
To prevent identity theft and help protect you and your loved ones during this time, stay alert to these threats.
Identity Theft Threat #1: Scammers preying on pandemic fears.
Scammers know that some people are desperate to find a work-from-home job or to get vaccinated, so they target these areas. Criminals use so-called phishing emails to “fish” for private information. They send emails with links that mimic legitimate business websites and attempt to get you to add your bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and credit card information. Some email scams appear to come from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Others lure people to fraudulent treatment or vaccine websites. Always hover over links before clicking to see where they actually take you.