Monday, December 24, 2012

A new robo-call scam offers unbelievable prizes for personal information

I got three garbled  robo-call messages on my landline (Comcast digital voice) message box this weekend, purporting to come from “Green Dot Money Pack” and claiming that my mother (deceased) had won a $10 million prize and a black Mercedes sedan. Now, I don’t buy lottery tickets or enter sweepstakes, and neither did my mother when she was alive (until the end of 2010). So I know this has to be a scam.

I got three such messages, each taking about ten minutes to play, repeating the same contents, asking to press a button to verify a time I would be home (that sounds suspicious, doesn’t it).

I haven’t noticed this scam online in a phishing email. Maybe it’s in my spam folder.

Presumably, the caller wanted “Mother” to call back and give personal  (and bank account) information to process the “prize”. 

For what it’s worth, the message even listed a call back number of 866-963-6205.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Identity theft of children made all to easy by the way Social Security numbers are used

Michelle Singletary has an important column Wednesday December 5, 2012 on p A18 of The Washington Post, “Identity theft’s youngest victims”, link here

A survey found that children 6 to 11 are the most susceptible, and that 27% knew the perpetrator.
It’s surprising that an “Argo” fake identity can be created with a Social Security number and a different birth date.  Why don’t financial database systems require a 1:1 unique functional relationship? (One could think of an entire birthdate as a check digit on a social security number.)
The problem is more prevalent in low income families.

People sometimes don't find out their identities were copied until they are young adults and apply for credit or apartments. 
It’s easy to guess a social security number, because it isn’t random.  You hometown (on Facebook) is a starting point. 

Originally, Social Security numbers weren’t meant to be used as an identifying key.  They were just account numbers.