Nearly 10 million people were victims of some form of identity fraud in 2002, and a report released by the Federal Trade Commission last September puts the total losses to businesses and financial institutions in that year alone at nearly $48 billion.
Some of the most sophisticated scams are carried out electronically. Following these basic guidelines will help keep you and your business from being victimized:
Don't open e-mails from individuals you don't know.
Don't click on links from e-mails if the e-mail is unusual in any way (especially if it talks about viruses, fraud etc.).
If an e-mail comes from a trusted source but seems unusual and asks you to go to a Website, it's best to type in the address directly into a new Web browser. The link you click may not take you to the right place.
Always be more leery of people contacting you who then have to verify information (such as a credit card company verifying a transaction and then asking for verification information). It's best to call the company yourself at a number you know, not a number provided to you:
Don't underestimate the sophistication of identity fraud.
Electronic identity theft complaints can be sent directly to the FBI at www.ifccfbi.gov. The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. IFCC's mission is to address fraud committed over the Internet. For victims of Internet fraud. IFCC provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at all levels, IFCC offers a central repository for complaints related to Internet fraud, works to quantify fraud patterns and provides timely statistical data of current fraud trends.
Federal Trade Commission...