With all the news about watching your credit reports to avoid ID thieves, it was inevitable that ID thieves would leverage this and dangle a ‘credit report’ as the lure to scam consumers.
The credit bureau impersonation scams I’ve seen so far are pretty basic but plenty of people have still fallen for them. Expect to see these get more sophisticated over time. Learn to spot these now and save yourself a lot of grief.
Test Your Skills
You should be able to find at least five red flags that tell you this e-mail is fraudulent. Click on the picture below to see the answers, but try to find them yourself, first. If you find four you’re a pro with little to worry about. If you find fewer than three, consider practicing on some more of our spam scam examples.
Here are the red flags that show this is a scam:
- The subject line has a period at the end where none is needed.
- The email comes from an absurd email alias that has nothing to do with the credit bureau Experian – firstname.lastname@example.org – remarkable management online.com? Really???
- 4. & 5 The entire body of the message has only one goal – to get you to click on any link – to take you to a malicious site. (They all point to the same website)
Should you errantly go to this site, at a bare minimum malware will be downloaded onto your computer.
If the criminals are particularly lucky, they may get you to ‘authenticate’ yourself with your name, age, birth date, social security number, contact information, and credit card number.
You DO need to monitor your credit
Everyone above the age of 14 needs to actively monitor his or her credit history. You have the right to one FREE credit disclosure in a twelve-month period from each of the three national credit reporting companies—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
The easiest way to get these reports is through AnnualCreditReport.com, a service created by these three credit institutions specifically to help consumers get free annual reports. You can also pay credit monitoring services to watch your account for you.
Consider placing a freeze on your credit as another means of protecting your financial reputation. Learn how Stay Safer – Place a Security Freeze on Your Credit.
The more you know, the safer you’ll go.