Pretexting – What Is It and How Do You Protect Yourself From It?
We have all heard the stories about someone receiving a phone call or an email asking for their social security number or bank account numbers. We have all been told not to ever give this information to anyone over the phone or by email. Some people may still become a victim of identity theft because they are unaware of something illegal called pretexting.
Pretexting is when a person uses false or fictitious methods to retrieve a victim’s personal information such as full name, address, birthdate and social security number. For example, someone may call and falsely explain that he is phoning from a government agency or a financial institution and needs this information to determine if you are eligible for a loan based on your income. The pretexter may then either use the information himself or he may sell it to someone else. They can call your bank and use this information by pretending they are you. He may explain that he needs the account number because he’s left it at home. Because he has the other information they ask for and is able to accurately provide it, he may be given information regarding your bank account, savings account or credit cards.
Don’t be a victim of pretexting. Never give information of this sort to anyone over the phone or by email. Remember, if a financial institution or someone you do business with is calling you, they will not be asking for this information. They already have it!