Identity Theft Articles

Scam artists' favorite ways to rip off consumers

Scam artists' favorite ways to rip off consumers

Fraudsters have a number of ways to steal the money or personal information of consumers at their disposal, and consumers are often aware of these methods.

However, some scam artists have old favorites that have served them well over the years, and according to a report from Fox Business, they go beyond stealing credit card statements from the trash and sending phishing emails.

The report said that one favorite of scammers that already have most of a consumers' information already is calling a house under the pretense that they are from a credit card fraud investigation team. They will confirm details like credit card number and address, but ask about a large recent charge. When consumers try to refute it, they ask for the security code on the back of the card, which is all they need to make as many charges as they like.

Scammers also favor skimming techniques like those employed by restaurant or hotel staff members that are in on the conspiracy. According to Fox, when consumers hand off their credit card, the employee simply runs the card through a separate machine that stores the information to be used in fraud later. Fraudsters can also skim using ATMs and gas pumps without an accomplice.

Con artists will also try to compromise consumers' computers with malware that poses as other programs like free games or screensavers, the report said. They may look or even function like normal applications, but they can also log keystrokes or search the computer's hard drive for personal information and return them to the hacker.

Finally, another scam that these criminals favor has to do with eBay auctions. According to the report, they will post items on the site for low prices, tricking consumers into thinking they've found a great bargain. At the end of the auction, the scammer will ask the winner to send money through a special website rather than eBay's checkout system to save both of parties some money. If consumers do that, they have just given all their personal and credit card information to an online fraud group.

A report from Victoria, Texas, television station KAVU said that hackers are also targeting other online shopping sites and trying to breach their security, which would give them access to information for large amounts of credit cards.