Who the heck ever thought up the concept of identity theft? I mean, really?!? It's hard enough keeping up with one identify - now you're going to juggle three or more?!? The problem with identify theft is that most people never suspect they will ever be a victim. I know a guy who prided himself on the fact the he has never bought anything online - to prevent thieves from stealing his financial information. Imagine his surprise when he found he'd been had. Picture it: He and his wife go to dinner. At the end of the meal, he hands his debit card to the waiter. An hour later, his checking account is empty. Think you're safe from identity theft? Here are three classic scams that are on the raise as of late.
Scam #1: You're checking your email and you get a message from the IRS. The email says the IRS made a mistake on your last refund and found that they should have refunded you more money. To reclaim the monies "owed," the email says, simply respond to this email with your bank account information to directly deposit the funds to your account. The problem with this scam is that what are the odds the IRS will EVER admit it owes you money? I mean, really?!
Scam #2: Your "bank" calls you on the phone and asks for an identity check. The person says they need your account information and social security number (just to be sure it's you). Actually, this happened to me the other day. What I did was after they said the name of the financial institution and ran on with their spiel, I asked them what the name of
the bank was again. When they said another name, the person fumbled around and hung up. Luckily I had caller ID. I called the Attorney General's office and filed a claim.
Scam #3: You get a phone call from someone claiming they are from the local courthouse and they tell you that you've missed jury duty and they need to collect your personal information. The problem with this one is that courts never call you if you miss jury duty - they just issue a warrant for your arrest and flag your driver's license. If you're ever pulled over by a police officer, they'll haul you into court.
Need information on identity theft, go to your local county law library and check out Online Identity Theft Protection for Dummies (Dummies.com). Currently embroiled in an identity theft case or looking to prosecute (or defend) an action sounding in identity theft? If so, then you might want to look at AmJur Proof of Facts (West), AmJur Trials (West), Causes of Action (West), or Privacy Compliance and Litigation in California (CEB).
So, whether you've been a victim of identity theft, are looking to prevent from being a victim of identity theft, or are looking to defend against a charge of identity theft, know that the good folks at your local county law library have what you need to help you get back on your feet.