While most of us see events like the Equifax Hack as a big problem, scammers see it as an opportunity.
There are three different scams occurring that everyone should know about. I will discuss two today and one tomorrow in order to make these posts a bit shorter.
- Imposter scams: Con artists are posing as Equifax representatives who are calling to verify your account information due to a suspicious activity alert. Given that Equifax is providing free credit monitoring, this might sound legitimate. The purpose of this con is to get you to give them private information. Not all fraudsters have access to to the leaked information. Providing information to new con artists simply increases the chance that you will be victimized.
- Tax Identity Theft: Here criminals get victims’ names, addresses, and Social Security numbers to file fraudulent refund claims IRS has noted that data breaches are one of the main ways con artists get the relevant information to pull off tax identity theft. Victims only find out about this when they file their annual tax return and the IRS notifies them that another return has already been filed and their refund has been claimed.
If you are a tax identity victim, file a police report and a fraud report with the FTC Identity Theft Hotline (877-438-4338). Also file IRS form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. If you don’t get a prompt response from the IRS, call their Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.
I discuss the third type of scam, spear-phishing scams here.