Thieves use their own recycling program

The world of identity theft can be a fascinating place.  On one hand we are taught that we should think like a thief in order to stay one step ahead of them and on the other hand we are taught that there is nothing new and that everything new is just something old being used again. This is particularly true in the world of fraud and trickery where three methods that have resurfaced again. 

The first is one that effects senior’s in a big way.  It is referred to as the Grandchild Fraud.  An unsuspecting grandparent, usually living alone, gets a telephone call from the thief claiming to be the grandson or granddaughter.  They have apparently been in a car accident or been arrested and need money – usually $2,800.  Many times the caller doesn’t know the grandchild’s name and just like clockwork, the grandmother say’s “Michael, is that you… I haven’t heard from you for so long”.  “Yes Grandma, I need your help, I’m sorry… please don’t tell anyone and I will get the money back to you when I get home”   Statistics show that 90% of these do not get reported for one reason or another.

The second one that has resurfaced is one that started back in 2006.  It is one where you receive an email passing on the message that if you are using an ATM and there is a threat by someone at the machine, all you have to do is enter your PIN in reverse to summon the police. This is not true. If you are confronted at an ATM, the best thing to do is just leave and not try to be a hero.  In some cases, an ATM has been altered to hold the card within itand not function properly.  The thief, who appears as the next person in line offers to help by suggesting if you hold certain keys at once, it will return the card. Since this is an impossible task for one person to do, he offers to hold the keys while you reenter your PIN – under his or her eyes.  He now has the card and the PIN after you leave disgusted that the machine failed to work. 

The third happens when you are told on the telephone by an individual claiming to be with your bank, that your credit card may have been compromised.  This person reads you your card account number, gives you the expiry date (taken from a stolen receipt or non-truncated cash register receipt) and asks you to supply the security code from the back of the card.  Never respond to a call like this, always thank the caller for letting you know and inform them that you are about to go to the bank anyway, so you will take care of it there.

Another one to be aware of that appears this time of year being tax time, is where you receive an email from The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) stating that you have an unclaimed refund from last year and all you need to do is click the attached link to retrieve the forms to get it to you.  You will get something alright, but it will not be a refund.

Frauds and thefts of identity can be malicious and disturbing, especially when they are recycled tricks that we should know better than to be caught by.  Please understand that it is easy to be caught in the moment without thinking of the ramifications. Sometimes the real question is, Are we being recycled by a thief or is it our information that is?  Either way, the result can be the same.