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Identity Theft Through Internet Phone Calls

Identity thieves have used unsolicited telephone calls in which they trick people into revealing personal information, such as credit card numbers or Social Security numbers, for many years. This has proven to be lucrative, but time-consuming. Now, however, some identity thieves are using modern technology such as automatic dialing software and Internet telephone services to make huge numbers of automated robocalls around the world in just a few moments. A typical scam using this technology involves a call purportedly from a person’s credit card company telling him that his card needs to be reactivated and that the person receiving the call needs to punch in his credit card number. It is also important to note that some of these identity thieves also take advantage of a technique called “spoofing” by which the caller ID of the person receiving the call will appear to show a legitimate source for the call, such as the person’s bank, when, in fact, the call is originating with an identity thief anywhere in the world.

It is easy to identify a scam robocall. All robocalls, with the exception of those from charities or politicians, are illegal, so if you receive one that indicates it is from your bank or a credit card company, it is a scam. In addition, when you receive a call, you can never be sure, regardless of what your caller ID might say, as to the identity of the person calling you; therefore, you should never provide personal information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called. If you do receive a call that appears to be legitimate requesting personal information, just hang up and call the real entity to find out whether the call was legitimate.

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