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Identity Theft Scams - Don't Be Duped Into Helping Thieves

Updated on November 23, 2008

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.


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    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      thank you for discussing identity theft and what a real problem this crime is. great hub

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 9 years ago

      This kind of stuff obviously works, otherwise there would be no way to explain all of those e-mails I get from unknown persons wanting me to help them get the money they deserve or to start a relationship with them. If they didn't work at least some tiny percentage of the time, they wouldn't bother sending them.  Amazing.

    • profile image

      layeredwolf 9 years ago

      I know someone that was lured and he/she was arrested for identity theft. Who does he/she go to for help in proofing innocence in this matter?

    • sdorrian profile image

      sdorrian 10 years ago from Chicago

      Hi razorblades! Thanks for your nice comments.

    • razorblades profile image

      razorblades 10 years ago from Holland

      SUPER INFORMATION. Very informative and very well written. A+

    • sdorrian profile image

      sdorrian 10 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks, ripplemaker. I know it seems hard to believe, but these scammers know how to manipulate people and they work on dozens of potential victims at a time until they get one who falls into their trap. The more people are educated about these tactics, the less likely they will be to take the bait.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Gee, people really do these? It's a sad thing. But I guess we do have to be careful, thanks for the warning. Being aware of scams does help.