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Their names may sound funny but their financial consequences are not: “Phishing,” “smishing,” “vishing” and “pharming” are just a few of the ways criminals gain access to personal information via your computer or smartphone. If you’re not careful, identity thieves can use harvested information to open fraudulent bank or credit card accounts, take out loans, rent apartments or even charge medical procedures to your insurance plan.
Unfortunately, every time the authorities plug one hole, crafty criminals figure out new ways to trick unsuspecting victims. Here are some identity theft scams to watch out for:
Phishing: This is where you receive an email, purportedly from a trusted source like a government agency, bank or retailer that asks you to supply or confirm account information, log-in IDs or passwords. These imposters are “fishing” for your personal information. Legitimate organizations never ask you to verify sensitive information through a non-secure means like email.