Republic of the Philippines
National Police Commission
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
Camp BGen Rafael T Crame, Quezon City
ACG-CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN NR 204: IDENTITY THEFT SCAM
Reference Number ACG-CSB 041221204
The following information was obtained from different cyber security sources for notification to all parties concerned pursuant to the mandate of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) and classified as “Restricted” pursuant to the PNP Regulation 200-012 on Document Security and Impact Rating as high based on PNP Information Communication Technology (ICT) Security Manual s.2010-01 p. 22 and p.129.
Identity theft is when someone uses your personal data — name, Social Security number, birthdate, etc. — to impersonate you, most commonly for financial gain.
They might use that information to drain your bank and investment accounts, open new credit lines in your name, get utility service, steal your tax refund, get access to medical treatments, or give police your name and address when they are arrested. It is a growing problem. A study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that about 1 in 20 people nationwide were affected by identity fraud in 2019. Losses rose to a total of $16.9 billion, up 13% from 2018.
Scammers take advantage of any opportunity they can, including the COVID--19 crisis, and frequent data breaches mean your information may already be exposed. In this new reality, it is smart to take steps to prevent malicious actors from using your personal information and ruining your financial life.
In public places, for example, criminals may engage in "shoulder surfing"– watching you from a nearby location as you punch in your telephone calling card number or credit card number – or listen in on your conversation if you give your credit-card number over the telephone
If you receive applications for "pre-approved" credit cards in the mail, but discard them without tearing up the enclosed materials, criminals may retrieve them and try to activate the cards for their use without your knowledge. Also, if your mail is delivered to a place where others have ready access to it, criminals may simply intercept and redirect your mail to another location.
All PNP personnel as well as the public are advised to follow the tips in order to avoid the risk of IDENTITY THEFT SCAM:
- Guard your Social Security number. Protecting this number is the most important part of preventing identity theft. Always avoid carrying it with you. Instead lock it up and memorize it. When you encounter a request for it, ask if it is necessary.
- Take caution in public. Identity thieves are creative. They will steal information while looking over your shoulder or listening to your phone conversations. This is a commonly overlooked source of identity theft.
- Protect your computer. Password-protect your computer but also individual documents containing account numbers, bank information or other confidential information.
- Do not ignore your trash. Identity thieves go through dumpsters to find names, addresses and/or account information. Get into the habit of shredding papers containing any of this information. A cross-cutting shredder is recommended for preventing identity theft. These can be purchased at your local office products store or online.
- Pick up your mail every day. If you are going to be out of town, arrange for a friend or neighbor to get it for you. Do not make it easy for thieves to get your information. (This is effective in preventing identity theft and keeping your mailbox from overflowing!)
- Email Phishing. This term refers to bogus emails that appear very real – from banks, credit institutions, even the IRS. Any time you receive an email asking you to confirm your account information and/or passwords, do not respond. Delete immediately. You can also report emails like this. Clicking “spam” will help the email providers to put the senders of emails like this in the spam filter. This means that when this person tries to send spam emails to others (or you), their email will go directly in the spam filter. This allows everyone to be involved with preventing identity theft.
For additional information, please refer to the following websites:
- https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/identity-theft/identity-theft-andidentityfraud#:~:text=Identity%20theft%20and%20identity%20fraud%20are%20ter ms%20used%20to%20refer,deception%2C%20typically%20for%20econo mic%20gain.
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