A Personal Experience with Identity Theft

Some months ago, before there was much publicity regarding phishing and identity theft, I became a victim.

My first inkling that I'd been scammed came from a telephone call from my bank asking if I had been to Italy or Roumania. Of course I had not. I was informed by the bank that a number of charges for hotel bills and cash withdrawals had been made from my account. Thieves had made a counterfeit Debit Card with which to rifle my account.

I had in the vicinity of $1900.00 in the account so I had to have the bank transfer enough from my savings to cover these charges, so as not to have my other checks "bounce". We closed the old account and opened a new one.

At first I could not imagine how it happened, then I remembered. I've been an eBayer for several years and I use Paypal frequently.

Some weeks previously I had received e-mail from eBay stating that there were some attempts to fraudulently access my account and they wanted to verify my account information. They said the matter was urgent and if I didn't respond promptly my account would be suspended.

I thought this was a bit odd, so I clicked on several links to see if it was a legitimate message and the links worked so I complied with the request. The result was that my checking account was cleaned out.

Since then I have found out ways to verify whether these messages are bogus or not. If you visit my web site http://www.caveatemptorus.com you will find detailed information in this regard. Checking a few links is not sufficient to verify the validity of a document.

Here in a nutshell is the best way to avoid this type scam:

DO NOT ANSWER ANY E-MAIL asking for personal financial data. EBay, Paypal, banks and other institutions never use e-mail for such purposes.

If you are concerned about your accounts initiate the contact yourself, then you'll know you're dealing with the right party.

NEVER GIVE YOUR PIN NUMBER to anyone for any reason. The only purpose it has is to relieve you of your money. Merchants don't need it when you make purchases.

DO NOT USE DEBIT CARDS or your checking account for online or phone transactions, in spite of Paypal's inducements. Use a consumer protected Credit Card. You have much better protection.

I recovered my money from the bank as this was a case of fraud, but it took several months. Since then I have received any number of similar messages, purportedly from eBay and Paypal. You can forward them to [email protected] for verification. All the ones I sent were bogus.

By: George W. Cannata
Owner and publisher of the web site:http://www.caveatemptorus.com

You have permission to publish this aticle in its entirety without changes and it must contain all links and credits to the author.

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