Identity Theft Scams - Don't Be Duped Into Helping Thieves
Identity theft is getting a lot of well-deserved publicity recently. As commerce becomes more and more digital and personal information is stored in places that can be accessed by hackers, the risks increase. One of the tactics these thieves use involves duping innocent people into helping them traffic merchandise purchased with stolen credit cards.
Many identity thieves will make online purchases with stolen credit cards and then ship those items to a third party. The third party may not even know they're being used as a drop place for merchandise. The thief uses a name and address of a person that they believe will not be home to accept the package. When the delivery is made, it is left at the person's door. Usually, the thief or someone working for the thief then picks up the package from the person's doorstep before he/she even knows anything was delivered.
An even scarier tactic used by these scumbags is to trick someone into willingly receiving the shipments of merchandise bought with stolen credit cards. Then, the victim is convinced to ship the merchandise overseas to another location. How do these thieves get people to willingly participate? They stalk innocent victims in online chat rooms. They start out by befriending someone in a chat room to get to know their potential victim. Then they give the relationship a romantic twist, sending pictures, allegedly of themselves to their prey. These pictures are always of an attractive man or woman who has inexplicably fallen "in love" with the person and wants tp marry him or her. Because so many of the victims are lonely and isolated, they fall for the scam. They, of course, don't know about the stolen credit cards, but are given some phony story about why they are needed to receive and send merchandise. Often, they also end up sending large amounts of their own money to their new fiance for various reasons. Maybe they will get an email from their new love claiming to need money for surgery or to avoid losing their home. All too many people are willing to part with their own money in these cases.
Most Americans would be surprised by how many people fall for these scams. It's mind-boggling how naive and trusting some people are. As long as there are people who fall for them, these scammers and thieves will continue to find them. The best defense is to spread the word and warn people about trusting someone they have met online who seems too good to be true.
Don't Fall For It!
If you or someone you know is involved in any relationship with someone who they met online, NEVER, EVER send them money and NEVER, EVER agree to receive or forward packages for them. It's very sad that so many people are so lonely that they can be taken advantage of in this way. If enough people are educated about this scam, the scammers will have to stop. I know that these thieves are resourceful and will eventually come up with another way to get what they want, but it's worth it to put up a road block whenever possible and prevent any more innocent people from being hurt by them.
- Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft
Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes.