By Linda Foley, founder, Identity Theft Resource Center
Hi, this is Linda Foley, the founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. As an identity theft survivor and someone who sees the consequences of this crime daily, National Protect Your Identity Week is a good opportunity to talk about the things consumers can do to reduce their risk of being this crime’s next victim. You can’t control all the factors that might result in identity theft; however, there are some scams you can avoid.
Identity thieves are opportunists and unfortunately the recession, with all its job layoffs and cutbacks, has opened the door to scam more people out of their Social Security numbers (SSN) and even to commit crimes by laundering money. While many of the job scams are found on the Internet, the examples also apply to newspaper ads. One of the most popular scams is to list a job that doesn’t exist and have an “HR” person call and say you are one of the finalists for the job based on your resume. They ask for your Social Security number for a background check and you never hear from them until credit cards are opened in your name or someone is working using your number. Always check out a company before sending your resume and verify that the person contacting you actually works for the HR department. By the way, never put your SSN on a resume.
Another scam is to hire you as an “accounts receivable” clerk for a foreign company. Whenever someone asks for help in transferring money, moving money, or collecting checks for a company or person anywhere in the world should be considered a scam. Never ship a product for an “out-of-country” company, especially if you don’t know what you are shipping. It could be stolen goods. In some cases you could be considered an accomplice to a federal crime.