Identity theft is not only done online. In fact the majority is done offline. Only 14% of cases are based online. So although many con artist do this at cyberspace, it can also do damage in the real world. By stealing Id’s, Credit cards and checking accounts they can access into your finances.

GT got her car broken into by thieves. They broke the window of her car and got her purse and some other valuable things. She expected that her credit cards would be used for some unauthorized purchase.

After a few days her bank called trying to verify a large purchase made on her credit card. Not just that, she also got charged for a maternity bill when she wasn’t even pregnant.

“They used my checking account and credit cards before I had a chance to cancel them”, says GT, a PR executive from San Francisco. A few months later she found out that they had also opened a new checking account in her name.

That one incident made her to go in debt and she couldn’t even use the account. This can be frightening to consumers who have credit cards and checking accounts. Someone can just steal your identity.

Now I am more careful and observant, says GT who has just only recently recovered from the financial mess that she encountered.

Majority of the people believe that Identity theft could only do damage when credit cards are used for online purchases. Well they are definitely wrong. A stolen wallet or bag would create a worse scenario.

For the one out of three identity theft victims who knows how their information was taken, more than 75 percent said it involved a physical method such as a stolen wallet, a phone or mail-order sale, stolen mail, or a theft by someone they knew, compared with 14 percent who reported that it involved online access.

What is Vishing

The Wikipedia definition of Vishing:

“Vishing is the criminal practice of using social engineering and Voice over IP (VoIP) to gain access to private personal and financial information from the public for the purpose of financial reward.

The term is a combination of “voice” and phishing. Vishing exploits the public’s trust in landline telephone services, which have traditionally terminated in physical locations which are known to the telephone company, and associated with a bill-payer.

The victim is often unaware that VoIP allows for caller ID spoofing, inexpensive, complex automated systems and anonymity for the bill-payer. Vishing is typically used to steal credit card numbers or other information used in identity theft schemes from individuals.

Vishing is very hard for legal authorities to monitor or trace. To protect themselves, consumers are advised to be highly suspicious when receiving messages directing them to call and provide credit card or bank numbers.

Rather than provide any information, the consumer is advised to contact their bank or credit card company directly to verify the validity of the message.”

Stay tuned for the second part in this series on what to do to protect yourself against vishing, phishing and similar threats.

Until next time 😉

Peter – Your Online Security Guide