Avoid This New Form of Identity Theft

by MB on January 28, 2008


Photo: Andy Field

I just heard about a new method of identity theft that is pretty brilliant. I know this has been said a million times, but you would think that someone smart enough to come up with something like this could make a good living honestly. Anyway . . .

How it works: You’re in a hotel room when you get a call. The caller says: “Hello, this is the front desk. We apologize, but we had a problem processing your credit card. Can you verify the number and your billing address? Also, verify the name exactly as it is printed on the card, and we will need the three digit number on the back”.

How they find you: The identity thief calls hotels at random, and asks for room 105, or a common name like Mr. Jones. When connected, he goes right into the script, and sounds very professional. The victim is caught completely off guard, and willingly gives the information. If they ask too many questions, the identity thief can terminate the call and move on to other prey.

How to avoid it: Tell the caller you will come down to the front desk and present your card in person. In fact, it is good practice to never give your personal information over the telephone during a conversation you did not initiate.

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