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As the world has become increasingly more dependent on online technology and communication, people have become more susceptible to identity theft. It is helpful to understand the different ways in which your identity and personal information can be stolen online, as well as the steps our clients can take to prevent identity theft and the resulting financial stress. On the following page, we cover:
The Internet has made life easier in many ways, but unfortunately it has also made it easier for lawbreakers to commit fraud and identity theft. In general, it’s a good idea to remain cautious of unfamiliar websites and email addresses, and to never provide your personal information unless you know you can trust the website.
Common types of Internet Fraud
1. Phishing is a scam in which you receive a fraudulent email designed to steal your identity or personal information, such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, debit card PINs, and passwords. A phishing email often asks you to click a link to verify this type of information, which can contain a computer virus. More information and examples of phishing scams can be found here.
Legitimate companies, including Financial Plans & Strategies, will never ask for your password or account number via email. The email may even threaten to disable your account if you don't reply, but don't believe it. If you receive a phishing email, don’t click on any link in the email and do not reply to the email itself.
2. 419 fraud or Nigerian email scam usually involves asking the victim to send a small up-front payment in exchange for a share of a large amount of money. The scam can also prey on the charitable-minded, by asking for money to help escape an unfortunate situation. If the victim makes the payment, the scammer either invents a series of further reasons for the victim to send money, or simply disappears.
3. Financial/purchase-related fraud
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Internet Fraud
Criminals are using information to file fraudulent tax returns using the social security numbers of others. Whether you owe money or not they will alter the return so that they receive a refund. There are ways to help prevent this:
By filing this form with the IRS, your tax return will not be processed as quickly because your return will be marked and reviewed for anything suspicious.
Even though you may have this affidavit on file, it is still highly recommended that you file early. If you find that you owe monies and do not want to pay early in the year, you can still file early and you have until April 15th to pay what you owe.
For more information:
One of the simplest and most assured ways of protecting your identity online is by using secure passwords for all of your accounts.