The Bad Guys
The April 2022 issue of AARP Bulletin includes an in-depth article on “who the bad guys are and how to stop them”. The article is encouraging, because it stresses knowing about Identity Theft and Fraud can help to beat them at their game.
Information is the fuel that runs the fraud schemes, and that information comes form data brokers. These brokers have more than 15 billion pieces of stolen personal data, according to law enforcement and cybersecurity experts. As we stress in our book, that information is provided to the scammers when we log into web sites or post on social media. Hackers steal the information from reputable sources.
There are hundreds of thousands of threat actors who purchase our private information in digital “shops” and online forums.
Boiler Room call centers, many located outside the United States and difficult to regulate, make thousands of calls each day, posing as Social Security service providers (insurance plans, aids and devices) or pushing extended warranties, issuing fake warnings about purchases from Apple or Amazon, and many other schemes.
The people who are running the scams are often part of a billion-dollar underground economy, run by criminal syndicates.
As we pointed out in Guarding Against Online Identity Theft, the number of victims increases by age group. The older we get, the more likely we are to become victims.
The AARP article includes a Fraud Protection Checklist of seven things we can do right now to be protected from the scams. These tips include most of the things we included in the book, but they add a few more, like adding the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline to your phone contacts. The number is 877-908-3360. The service is free. Trained fraud protection specialists provide help and guidance on how to respond to scams and avoid becoming a victim.
There are many other tips in the article that are worth reading and reviewing.